Celebrating the life and legacy of Pompano Beach native, Esther Rolle, star of the classic TV show Good Times. This annual exhibition celebrates the award-winning actor and activist’s global impact with new works garnered from a national call-to-artists.
The reception will be hosted in collaboration with The Rock Road Historical Group, Inc. and a number of local fraternities and sororities with ties to Pompano Beach and Ms. Rolle. We are excited to celebrate Ms. Rolle’s 103rd birthday! Please join us for this wonderful event.
Pompano Beach Arts is proud to announce a new exhibition celebrating the life and legacy of Pompano Beach native, Esther Rolle, star of the classic TV show Good Times. Annually, Ali Cultural Arts Center honors Ms. Rolle, with an exhibition dedicated to various aspects of her life, career, and activism. Native Daughter: An Esther Rolle Inspired Art Exhibition was curated from a national call to artists. The works on display portray the themes of Ms. Rolle’s life, both literal and abstract. The exhibition will be on display through February 10, 2024 and kicked-off with an opening reception hosted in collaboration with The Rock Road Historical Group, Inc. and a number of local fraternities and sororities with ties to Pompano Beach and Rolle. For more information, visit www.pompanobeacharts.org
This year’s featured artists include Cesar Ceballos, Tafara Clarke, Sami Davidson, Gregory Dirr, Kim Ferguson, Holly Forbes, Desirae Foston, Joanne Hampstead, Tereza Hazelton, G. Ryan Hudson, Martin Karadzhov, Manzi Liu, Susan Miiller, Leonardo Montoya, Cibby Orozco, Renata Rodrigues, and JL Schwartz.
Esther Rolle was born in 1920 to Bahamian immigrant parents in Pompano Beach, Florida, the tenth of 18 siblings. She was an actor primarily recognized for her role as principled, spirited Florida Evans, who was first the maid on the Norman Lear sitcom Maude (starring Beatrice Arthur) whose character was spun off into the starring role as the mother in the Lear sitcom Good Times (1974-1979). While that role cemented her position as TV icon, the Yale educated actress also garnered tremendous acclaim for numerous film roles and for her leadership of the Shogolo Olobo dance troupe.
After Good Times, Rolle played Lena onstage and on television (1989) in A Raisin in the Sun, and Bernice in Member of the Wedding (1989). In television, she won an Emmy Award for Summer of my German Soldier in 1979. She won numerous NAACP Image Awards. She had a key role in Maya Angelou’s 1979 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and in film, she portrayed Aunt Sarah in Rosewood (1977) and Idella in Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Rolle’s final film was Train Ride released in 2000, two years after her death. Rolle had 39 roles in film and television plus many more in theatre.
Devoted to addressing social and political injustice, Rolle delivered a much-praised reading of the proposed 52-word Equal Rights Amendment at the annual conference of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1981. Seven years later, again for NOW, she participated in its summer drive for a stronger black family where she addressed an audience of 90,000 people gathered on the mall in Washington, D.C. Rolle was an honorary member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, an organization of college-educated African American women.