“It Brought Me Back to My Childhood”

Marquita Dulan discusses 'The Checker Players'.

An Interview with Human Resources Generalist Marquita Dulan

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘art’ and ‘Worcester’ in the same sentence? The Worcester Art Museum (WAM) has been an iconic part of the growing Worcester art scene since its opening in 1898. Its dedicated staff wants the community to recognize and share in all that the Worcester art scene has to offer; as part of that mission, the New Worcester Spy will present interviews with WAM staff members over the next few weeks about their favorite pieces in the museum and why art matters in Worcester.

By Timothy Jarvis

Marquita Dulan discusses 'The Checker Players'.
Marquita Dulan discusses ‘The Checker Players’.

Human Resources Generalist Marquita Dulan is responsible for hiring new employees to the Worcester Art Museum (WAM), making sure relations among employees are pleasant, and reaching out to the general public about WAM employees.

Dulan has been an employee for just about a year now, she said. The WAM is her first time working in a museum, and she told of how much she enjoys museum life.

“Being in an environment surrounded by art is a welcoming place to work,” Dulan said. “Also, it’s great to work for a place that really reaches out to the community,” she continued.

Dulan moved to Worcester from Kansas City when her husband was offered a job in the area, so she found herself a job at the WAM. She likes being in Massachusetts and Worcester as they are quite different from Kansas City, Dulan said.

She then shifted the topic to her favorite piece in the WAM, The Checker Players by Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000). This contemporary American painting from 1937 is an egg tempera on gessoed panel. This style is what gives this painting its unique look, appearing as if done by pastels. This style was something of a trend during the 1930’s urban America art scene, according to Dulan.

The artist, Jacob Lawrence, was a painter most known for his portrayal of African-American life. Lawrence referred to his art style as “dynamic cubism,” though by his own account the influence was not quite French art as he used “the shapes and colors of Harlem,” as Lawrence put it.

“What drew me to this painting was it brought me back to my childhood, from when I was about five or six,” Dulan said. “This kind of community setting at this time is different from now, and I like seeing that in this painting,” Dulan explained.

“I love the colors!” she exclaimed. “They stand out so much in this piece.”

She also found it interesting that this scenery is supposed to be taking place in the south. Dulan’s grandparents were from the south, she said, so painting hits home close for her as well. “Nostalgic; very much so,” was how she described the feeling of this piece.

“This character is so stoic, so noble looking,” she said in reference to the subject of the work (the man in blue on the far right).

Dulan said in conclusion, “This piece speaks to Worcester as it’s an urban area, and this painting is something everyone in the area can find enjoyable.”

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