Legends Live On at the Michener

Two important figures in establishing the Michener Art Museum as a world-class destination for arts and culture have recently passed, but their legends live on in what they created.

“Charles Fambrough was a force behind Jazz Night, and a good friend of the Museum,” says Zoriana Siokalo, the Museum’s director of programs.  Jazz Times carried this obit of Fambrough.

Denver Lindley Jr. was one of the godfathers in establishing this Museum,” says Michener Director and CEO Bruce Katsiff. The Intelligencer ran this obit.

“Fambrough was a major force in establishing the high quality of Jazz Night all these years,” continues  Siokalo. “He performed here on many occasions for Jazz Nights, as well as off-site concerts  such as the Meet the Michener at Roman Jeweler event. He performed exhibition related events like Jazz Age in Paris, family jazz concerts, summer outdoor sculpture garden series concerts, blues night, our 10th anniversary concert, and ran a jr. jazz camp here many summers ago.”

Fambrough brought Dave Valentin here for a Latin Jazz Night, presented several Afro-Cuban Jazz Nights, and organized the Jazz Messengers Reunion concert at the Michener that was broadcast live remotely on the RTI radio with Jeff Dupron and Bob Perkins. He attracted many top notch performers from New York, Philly and DC to come to Doylestown to play, really placing the Museum on the map as a regional jazz venue. “Always the gentleman, he never complained about his illness and wanted to play as much as he could,” says Siokalo. “He taught countless students the true spirit of jazz, and made many friends along the way.  I feel so fortunate to have known him, and to know (his wife) Dolores and the family.”
 
Denver Lindley studied at the Art Students League in New York City after completing an undergraduate degree at Yale. “He moved to Bucks County in 1958 and became the community’s first and only full time artist politician,” says Katsiff.

From 1972 – 1976 Lindley served as a county commissioner. He was also a member of the board of Bucks County Community College.

As Bucks County Commissioner, Lindley created the Bucks County Council on the Arts. Every other week that group would meet in Denver’s office and explores ways to promote the arts in Bucks County. One of the council’s ideas was to expand exhibition opportunities for artists. The Artmobile of Bucks County Community College was a direct outgrowth of an arts council idea that first surfaced in 1974 and the Artmobile is still on the road today.

Another idea of the Art Council was to develop a museum right here in Bucks County. Those ideas stimulated the establishment of the Rodman House, the direct predecessor to the Michener Art Museum.

“There is no doubt that Denver is the museum’s godfather,” says Katsiff. “His passion for the arts and his support helped to create this museum.”

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