A Message from our CEO.
Welcome! Meet the team at Legion Group Arts. We are an international collective of accomplished creatives, scholars, and professionals. We’re next generation storytellers. We came together to form a new social movement in the arts. Making cultural heritage sites come alive for new generations. Connecting those places and the creators who were inspired by them. And restoring undervalued artists to their rightful place in history.
In the past decade, we’ve been inspired by the success of stories like Thornton Dial’s. The African American vernacular artist had been denied a place at the table of high art. Why? Because he was black, and poor, and self-taught. Dial had a legion of champions, though. Maverick art lover William Arnett never stopped telling Dial’s story. The Souls Grown Deep Foundation, with the support of Jane Fonda, worked hard to document Dial and the movement he epitomized. And Tinwood, led by businessman Michael Sellman, published the books that built and cemented Dial’s reputation. Pretty soon, few could deny that Thornton Dial was an original artist who had established a meaningful body of work.
When Dial’s champions all came together and blended their strengths, they opened eyes. They changed hearts and minds. Today, Dial’s work is collected at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the value of African American vernacular art has been firmly established. Now the world can clearly see the contributions that Thornton Dial’s has made to culture and the arts in America. It’s an inspiring story. Our cultural life is richer when we reckon with the ideas and sensibilities of Thornton Dial.
We’re doing the same thing at Legion: bringing the arts, business and social enterprise together. Our collaboration is restoring lesser-known artists to the spotlight. We’re returning undervalued artists and authors to their rightful places. We conduct scholarship, write and publish books, produce filmed entertainment and virtual reality experiences, stage plays, organize concerts and make exhibitions possible. Our goal: to surprise, delight and inspire a new generation with tales from lost generations.
First we focused on American painter Romaine Brooks, famous in her own lifetime but virtually unknown today. She’d been devalued as a woman artist, sidelined because of her misunderstood politics and demeaned because of her queer identity. Our team members are responsible for uncovering the surprising truth about Brooks’ pioneering life. The truth led to a new biography, improved scholarship, the first American exhibition of her paintings and drawings in 16 years, and discovery of lost work. There’s much more to come.
Now we’re expanding out, learning more about the incredible artists and art patrons in Brooks’ circle. They were pioneering Modernists who made Paris the world capital from 1900 to the eve of World War II. Today we have forgotten how they changed the world with their courage to live irrepressible lives.
Many were expatriates, like Brooks, who lived through two world wars and believed it was morally wrong for an artist not to care for displaced people, especially vulnerable children. It’s an outlook, an attitude to life, that many share today.
Another artist in Brooks’ circle whose life story inspires us, Eva Palmer Sikelianos, left Paris to make her life and legacy in Greece, with its long history of struggling to meet the needs of displaced people. More than a century later, I traveled to Greece as a screenwriter, in search of Eva’s story. I discovered a wonderful country where we could align our pioneering XR work with our values.
Again today, Greece is still on the front line of a global refugee crisis.
At Legion, our social enterprise is to honor the legacies of Brooks, Sikelianos and other Moderns by helping small children in Greece.Kids badly affected by the austerity crisis that has only deepened since the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Kids who have been displaced by the refugee crisis living without parents or adult relatives. Kids who aren’t going to school, getting the care they need, or leading enriched lives. While we do projects in Greece, we will do what we can for meaningful change in the lives of these young, unaccompanied refugee children.
We look forward to taking you along on the journey.
Founder, CEO and Creative Director
Throughout history, unsung creatives have been at the heart of each flourishing of music and the arts. They were at the leading edge, bringing legions of their followers down paths of new discovery. They renewed the passion for the art of living.
Legion Group is an international collective of artists, scholars, publishers, filmmakers and social entrepreneurs with that same passion.
We are dedicated to nourishing and inspiring new generations, as we were nourished and inspired, through discovery, storytelling and immersive experiences in arts, music and literature.
We focus on pioneer creatives with undervalued contributions. Taking a trans media approach, we combine world class scholarship and storytelling to make their work and lives relevant today.
We will bring these pioneers and their stories to the stage, the screen, the page, the gallery, the concert hall and even to virtual and augmented reality worldwide.
For our proving grounds, we have chosen the American figurative Modernist painter Romaine Brooks and her circle of avant-gardistes. They were the lesser known patrons and pioneers in the arts who put Paris on the cultural map from the turn of the century up to the eve of World War II.
Mindful of the great flourishing of culture in ancient Greece, these pioneers shared compassion for the vulnerable. Inspired by their commitments to nourish the lives of young children, we dedicate our social enterprise to bettering the lives of the youngest, most vulnerable unaccompanied refugees in Greece today.
What’s old is new again. Come take the journey with us back to the future.
In 2016, with our scholarship and translations, we discovered a lost painting by Romaine Brooks and supported the first major exhibition of her paintings and drawings in 16 years. “The Art of Romaine Brooks” runs at the Smithsonian American Art museum through October 2.
In 2017, we have focused on starting up our XR business to bring new experiences of the ancient world to travelers, students and new audiences worldwide.
In 2018, as global awareness of Brooks builds momentum and expands the platform, we will shine new light on the contributions of Eva Palmer Sikelianos, the American expatriate who left the Paris of Brooks and Barney to make her life in Greece. When Palmer revived the festival at Delphi in 1927, she gave birth to a cultural revival that still attracts millions to Greece today. Her story, and the story of the modern day child refugees who will grow up in host nations with different cultures.
Legion Group, founded by CEO and Creative Director Suzanne Stroh, will grow the value of Romaine Brooks’ artwork and intellectual property over time by making it relevant to a new generation through film, television and trans media production and distribution; theatre; fashion and design; publications; exhibitions and concerts; and translation.