December 24th 2012 - The American Arts Trust will produce four special event evenings for the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in honor of Black History Month. Celebrating the African American cultural gifts of Jazz and Food

Thanks to our success in saving the Montague collection, we were asked to see if art was the answer in celebrating black history month. The Mayme A. Clayton library and museum, second-largest collection in the folk was seeking a different way for people to be able to appreciate the substantial contributions of African Americans to US culture. American Arts Trust decided to focus on Jazz, the first truly American art form.

The Clayton now occupies the old city hall in Culver City, CA (complete with its untouched courtroom). We will produce rare evenings of duo performances from jazz masters: Charles McPherson & Eric Reed, Russell Ferrante & Bob MIntzer, Patrice Rushen & Karen Briggs, and Carmen Lundy & Carol Robbins. Tours of the collection will round out these evenings of celebration and praise.

The Clayton Collection is both an act of selfless heroism and an act of defiance against ignorance and acceptance of the status quo. When Mayme Clayton was a little girl, she wondered why there were no books with Black heros and Heroines. Her mother’s response was, “that’s the way it is.” So the little girl became determined to change it. She spent her life amassing & funding this collection, That show the contributions of African Americans to all facets of American And she did it all by herself.

"I'm not doing this for myself," she once said. "It's for the children. For generations to come. So they will have a place where they can go to study black history and point to blacks with pride.... All this will pay off one of these days. Maybe not in my generation but in one of them. Mostly everything you want to know about black people, you can find it here."

To honor her work, The American Arts Trust will produce four unique duo concerts during Black History Month 2013 featuring the first truly American art form -- an African American art form -- Jazz.

And in honor of her mother, Mary Knight Agnew, a renowned southern cook, below find stoires about soul food origins, providing a perhaps surprising history about how we came by these culinary delights and the ingenuity it took to create them. such as sweet potato pie - a southern and african American specialty that traces its roots to Spain and queen Isabella’s greenhouse....learn more

Important African American Collection Snatched Back From Auction Block With Help of Upstart American Arts Trust

Los Angeles, CA December10, 2012

Fifty years ago, veteran rhythm and blues radio personality, Nathaniel “Magnificent” Montague realized how little documentation existed of the African American experience. A passion and obsession was born and he began to amass more than 7000 pieces, some rare, some one of a kind. His dream was to one day gift the collection to the nation.

Collections of this size are usually maintained by libraries or museums due to the associated costs. The financial burden eventually became overwhelming forcing Montague into bankruptcy, where the collection was in peril of being broken up and auctioned off to pay the debt.

American Arts Trust President/co-founder David Hahn recounts, my wife saw a CNN story about the threat and she said “Look, this is what you are supposed to be doing…do it.” We hadn’t even printed business cards or launched our website, but Montague’s passion resonated with us.

He and co-founder/EVP Ricky Schultz researched the story and jumped into the fray. The Trust focused on two goals. First, ensure the collection remain intact, and second, find a proper home where it could be displayed and enjoyed by the greatest number of Americans and made available for scholarly educational purposes.

They discovered trustee Doton Melech was also moved by the story and sympathetic to Montague’s plight. There had been a lot of interest in the collection but in six months no one submitted an offer. Everyone wanted to cherry pick the collection at auction, and the creditor’s counsel was pushing for this. American Arts Trust forced everyone’s hand by submitting a formal bid for the entire collection, one high enough to satisfy the court. It worked. Within a week there were five bids.

American Arts Trust was also successful in having the Court order that the collection remain intact. When their hunch that an “anonymous” bidder was in fact the Smithsonian, American Arts Trust bowed out, its mission accomplished. The collection will become part of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, set to open on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2015.

The American Arts Trust is a new charitable foundation, based in Los Angeles. Its mission is “to preserve, protect, and promote those Arts and Crafts that are uniquely American.” Its co-founders believe “art is the answer” and with art we can resolve many issues and problems in a positive, productive and humane fashion.

Their other initiatives include: The Great Green Barrier, a solution to the U.S.-Mexican border problem. The American Veterans Art Wall (AVAW), a virtual wall for veteran’s art. A Dialectic in Rhythm, an evening of jazz, tap and beat poetry. plans to honor Vincent De Rosa, the most recorded musician in history. And in partnership with Made In USA, the American Glass Initiative: an attempt to save America’s iconic art glass company, Steuben.