A.M. Weaver, best known for her curatorial and art criticism work, died on January 9th 2018, due to natural causes. She is survived by her brother Joseph Warr, cousin Eunice McQueen, and nephew Joseph Warr, Jr., as well as her extended family Yvonne Hardy-Phillips, Gary Smalls, Jackie Asbury, Beverly Bryant, Gregory Russell, Gregory Gray, E J Montgomery, Carol Rhodes Dyson, Lea and Shaunte Gates, and Baby Biko.
Up until the very end, she produced shows, works, and literature that reflected her love of teaching, mentorship, and Philadelphia culture. In her writings, she sought to connect the modern and contemporary art world with the evolution of emerging and established artists and mediums. This focus is particularly noticeable in her most recent articles at artblog: “Bold, imaginative works populate Lossless, the BlackStar Film Festival exhibit at Leonard Pearlstein Gallery”, Hyperallergic.com’s “Conjuring Paintings’ Innermost Thoughts at the Barnes Foundation” (with Philadelphia-based multimedia artist Andrea Hornick) and “Fifty Years Later, Artists Continue to Spread the Message of the Black Panther Party” (featuring D.C. area artists Holly Bass, Amber Robles Gordon, and Stan Squirewell.) She has also written for Frieze Magazine, Art in America, Artblog, Aperture, and many other critical publications online and in print.
Furthermore, she has curated groundbreaking exhibitions that showcased the intersection of African-American cultural anthropology, civic pride and placemaking, feminism, and activism: such shows include Gardens of My Mind at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) in 2017, CoDM (Ceremonies of Dark Men) for D.C.-produced guest curator program 5+5 in 2014, and Philadelphia’s Blackstar Film Festival’s Whose Vanguard? in 1998.
Weaver’s foundation as a printmaker and sculptor has helped her foster unique curatorial connections and themes with the various artists that had the opportunity to work with her over the years. Amanda Sroka, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, relied on AM’s experience and deep connections with Philadelphia’s art and music communities in their curatorial collaboration, the Philadelphia Assembled exhibit at the Perelman Building at the Museum in 2017. Sroka emphasized, “ [Weaver] was mature and refined in her thinking [and] was someone who always had projects going… She had an amazing enthusiasm for arts and Philadelphia in general…[which] we will continue to honor, cherish, and carry into our future work.” Highlights of the project include the hosting the AfroFuturist Affair Costume Ball, a jazz performance with legend Odean Pope, and a spoken word performance by Ursula Rucker, Denise Valentine, Tim Motzer, and Owen Valentine
Weaver also had deep connections with the Washington D.C. arts scene, and artists and organizations. People that knew her fondly remember her warmth and intellect. Amber Robles-Gordon, a visual artist based in D.C., thought of Weaver as a crucial part of her “art family,” a trusted mentor and friend. Weaver gave and demanded respect for the arts that she loved so well.. “She was a phenomenal woman,” Gordon shared. “I believe that she deserved so much more from this universe.”
By all accounts, she was a visionary that had the insight to see the talent in others, a star that helped others to shine.
The AAMP is hosting a memorial service honoring her life and legacy on 1/16/18 from 10-12PM, which is the last day of Gardens of My Mind, her final curatorial project. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and share their memories of AM Weaver and her impact on their lives.