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Laurel business to host watch party for opening of Museum of African American History and Culture

Laurel business to host watch party for opening of Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has sent out a global invitation for its grand opening this weekend in Washington, D.C., and Laurel business owner Lisa Sidney Irving says she's ready to join the historic celebration.

Irving will host a grand opening watch party Saturday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the offices of Pro-Spex Home Inspection Services, 606 Main St. Owner of Sidney & Company, Irving said her multimedia business specializes in photography, video production, graphics and website design.

Irving said photo artist Duane Conliffe will display an exhibit, "The Public Works of Sargent Johnson," during the party.

"[Johnson] was an amazing artist back in the 1920s, '30s and '40s," Irving said.

The art show will feature images of Johnson's works located throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Conliffe said he will participate in an artist talk at Saturday's event at noon.

"Sargent Johnson, who lived from 1888 to 1967, was a premiere African American artist of his time who was respected by his peers of all races. He was a master in multiple artistic discipline," Conliffe said. "I'm very glad to see the opening of the museum happen, particularly at this time. There was actually a proposal of a museum of this type made 100 years ago and it was finally authorized 13 years ago. Now, it's finally here and I would have to say it's about time."

As a history, culture and art enthusiast, Irving said she's thrilled with D.C.'s latest museum, which encourages visitors to capture and preserve their history through photography, film and audio.

"A museum of this caliber is exciting," she said.

Irving said they expect roughly 100 attendees at Saturday's watch party, but required tickets are still available, at no charge,

For more information about the event, go to Conliffe's work is also available at

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