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Tang honors its namesake with special day

Tang honors its namesake with special day

July 17, 2014

The Tang Museum will celebrate Frances Day on Saturday, July 19, in recognition of the museum’s namesake, Frances Young Tang ’61.

The event, open to the public free of charge, offers everything from music, art-making, and gallery talks to snow cones and a photo booth. The festivities will run from noon to 7 p.m., with the museum’s galleries open throughout the event.

MaryLeigh Roohan
MaryLeigh Roohan

Schedule of events

  *   Noon–1 p.m.: Opening performance by singer-songwriter MaryLeigh Roohan, performing selections from her album Skin and Bone and other music

 *   Noon–5 p.m.: Scavenger Hunt for the young and young at heart

 *   1‑4 p.m.: Drop-in art activity, inspired by Kay Rosen’s huge painting Wanderful!, currently on view at the Tang (painted directly on the wall). Art-makers age 5 and older will create whimsical graphic art using alphabet stamps and stencils.

 *   2:30­–3:30 p.m.: Improv songwriting event, led by singer-songwriter Michael Eck, with Roger Noyes and M.R. Poulopoulos, in which they will compose new pop music based on rules given to them by the audience

 *   4:30–5:30 pm: Artist talks in the galleries

 *   5:30–7 pm: Public reception

About Frances Young Tang

Frances Young Tang, for whom the museum is named, was a believer in the power of art and education. Born in Paris, she was the daughter of a Chinese diplomat who was killed during World War II by the Japanese in the Philippines. She immigrated to the United States in 1947 at age 7 and grew up in New York City.

Frances Young Tang
Frances Young Tang '61

She attended the Abbot Academy in Andover, Mass., and earned a scholarship to study textile design at Skidmore College. She graduated in 1961, the year after she married Oscar Tang, who was a student at Phillips Academy (also in Andover, Mass.) and also an immigrant from China.

Frances, in addition to being a wife and mother (the Tangs have three daughters and one son), was also the president of a company that restored historical buildings and the manager of a Chinese catering company. The Tangs were also philanthropists, whose generosity included a $325,000 gift to Skidmore’s Chinese Studies Department in 1989.

In 1992, Frances died of cancer at age 53. That same year, her youngest daughter graduated from Skidmore. In 1996, the Tang family made a gift of $2.5 million toward the museum, which opened in fall 2000 as the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.

“My late wife was a very creative person, and it was at Skidmore that she was able to further develop those skills,” Oscar Tang said at the time. “It is my hope that the new museum-gallery will enhance creativity and visual learning of students in all the disciplines.”

It is in that spirit that we celebrate the vitality of Frances Young Tang with Frances Day.

 About the performers

 *   MaryLeigh Roohan is a singer-songwriter and recent Skidmore College grad who will be returning to her alma mater after a national tour. Among her many accolades, she has been hailed as being a “strong, smart songwriter with a lovely voice” (Albany Times Union) and “a terrific composer and lyricist” (Chronogram).

Michael Eck
Michael Eck

 *   Michael Eck is a songwriter with four solo albums to his credit, each reflecting different facets of his deep interest in the long reach of American music. Michael is also a nationally recognized, widely published music critic and radio personality, as well as a visual artist focusing on portraits of American roots musicians.

Eck, along with Roger Noyes and M.R. Poulopoulos, will lead the Improv songwriting event. In the spirit of the exhibition I was a double, in which the curators included artists who make work based on rules (much the same way a composer gives musicians rules via a score), the musicians will write new songs based on rules given to them by the audience. 

Tags: Community, Music, Tang Teaching MuseumTang Museum, Frances Young Tang
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