Listen to this story
The NYC Culture Club Museum recently launched a new exhibit dedicated to celebrating Black art by artists based in the city.
Titled “My PEOPLE,” the exhibit features the work of four young, up-and-coming Black artists from different communities who use unique mediums to explore their relationship with art and depict life in the Black community.
Among the artists attached to the project are Jewel Ham, Mario Joyce, Adrian Armstrong and Laurena Finéus. Along with exposure from the exhibit, these artists will also get the chance to show off their talent in a docu-series still in development that examines the path Black artists take in the early phases of their professional careers.
Although the works are being displayed at NYC Culture Club, the exhibit was mainly created by Phillip Collins, an art collector and the founder of a company, known as Good Black Art, that helps invest in Black artists.
Along with curating the project, Collins and Good Black Art have also partnered with The Last Resort Artist Retreat, promising to donate 10% of sales from the exhibit to the residency to help them with their commitment to helping Black creatives use art as therapy.
“On a macro level, we want the entire Black community to have the ability to sustain itself independently from the external forces that have only worked against us throughout history,” said Collins per local newspaper AM New York Metro. “That will only happen if we invest in ourselves. Good Black Art has started that investment process in creating and nurturing a network of artists, collectors and all who engage with art.”
Throughout the years, Black artists have had a deep history in the New York art scene, particularly during the Harlem Renaissance. Known as a “cultural revival for Black creatives,” many Black artists, such as James Van Der Zee, Richmond Barthe’ and Aaron Douglas, were given the opportunity to display their talents during this time of cultural prosperity.
Amongst the artists to gain the most artistic notoriety is Augusta Savage; in the early 20th century, Savage created a name for herself as a sculptor who often created pieces in honor of prominent figures in the Black community such as W.E.B. DuBois. To this day, some of her pieces, such as a bust called “Gamin,” are displayed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the nation’s capital.
During this time, artist Jacob Lawrence was also able to gain success, eventually becoming the first mainstream artist from the Harlem Renaissance. Inspired by the Harlem scene, Lawrence was a painter who focused on portraying African American life such as the migration from the South to the North. His work can now be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the White House.
With the new exhibit, NUC Culture Club, Good Black Art and The Last Resort Artist Retreat hope to help new artists reach the same level of respect for their work.
On display until Nov. 5, the exhibit will be available for viewing from 12 to 7 p.m. from mid-week to Sunday.