Mosaic Templars Cultural Center Celebrates 10 Years

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center - Thursday, October 04, 2018 2018 - Thursday, October 04, 2018 Storyline - Thursday, October 04, 2018

In September, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center kicked off celebrations of the museum’s 10th anniversary.

'Victory in Zimbabwe' by Jeff DonaldsonFestivities began with the opening of a new exhibit, “RESPECT: Celebrating 50 Years of AfriCOBRA.” The exhibit examines the history and current iteration of the AfriCOBRA artist collective.

“RESPECT: Celebrating 50 years of AfriCOBRA” features a tribute to the contributions of Arkansas native and cofounder of AfriCOBRA, Jeff Donaldson. Donaldson shares an alma mater, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, with current AfriCOBRA artist Kevin Cole.

AfriCOBRA is the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists. It is a collective of African American artists formed in 1968 to define and identify a uniquely black aesthetic in visual arts that reflected shared needs, aspirations and experiences of black American citizens.

History of MTCC

From the creation of the museum “on paper” under Act 1176 of 2001, to the devastating fire that destroyed the original Mosaic Templars of America building in 2005, to the opening of the museum’s doors in September 2008, MTCC already has a rich history made only richer by the stories held and shared within the museum’s walls.

The mission of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is to preserve, interpret and celebrate African American history and culture in Arkansas. The museum advances its mission through the curation of exhibits exploring the role of African Americans throughout Arkansas’s history. Programs like Inclusive Arkansas, which has welcomed thousands of kids through the museum’s doors and via its statewide outreach programs, and initiatives such as Arkansas Made Black Crafted, which provides opportunities for small minority- and women-owned businesses to grow and thrive, also support the museum’s mission.

Today, MTCC boasts some 20,000 items in its collections, including:

  • original Mosaic Templars of America documents and objects;
  • an 1832 issue of the “Arkansas Advocate” newspaper containing a runaway slave ad;
  • a circa 1855 ambrotype of a young African American woman;
  • an 1859-60 receipt for hire of slave Meriah;
  • 1864 46th U.S. Colored Infantry, Companfy F muster roll;
  • African American U.S. Marshal documents, including a document signed by legendary law man, Bass Reeves;
  • a 1968 letter signed by Coretta Scott King, which she had mailed to a person in Little Rock;
  • and a painting by noted Delta artist Dewitt Jordan.

Keep an eye on for information on upcoming events, speakers and programs hosted as part of the museum’s 10th anniversary celebrations.


(Pictured, top: "Victory in Zimbabwe" by Jeff Donaldson, silkscreen; bottom: Mosaic Templars Cultural Center building)