African American Artists Becoming Increasingly Appreciated


African American Artists Becoming Increasingly Appreciated & Recognized. American society has always had artists recording mood and events of the time. However, not all received the interest or had the resources to pursue their art. For African American artists, past & present, that is changing.


According to the 1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label - "Earle Richardson depicted his fellow African Americans working barefooted in a southern cotton field, but the artist denied demeaning stereotypes to stress the dignity of his subjects. These workers are not bent over to pick cotton; the three youthful figures have a monumental aspect, using their impressive strength to handle heavy baskets of cotton. Only one older woman bends over her task. The workers’ quiet pride transcends their identity as manual laborers. They stand at the front of the painting, where they confront the viewer as equals who are ready for a better life.

The Public Works of Art Project welcomed African American artists like Richardson who would paint "Negro themes." Yet they counted only about ten such artists among the thousands employed on the Project. Richardson was also rare in showing a scene far from his home. The artist was a native New Yorker, but he set his painting in the South in order to make a broad statement about his race. Richardson and fellow artist Malvin Gray Johnson planned to say more about the history and promise of black people in their mural series Negro Achievement, slated to be installed in the New York Public Library's 135th Street Branch, but neither young man lived long enough to complete the project."


"April Harrison, of Greenville, SC, is a self-taught artist who by her own admission is "merely a vessel being utilized to instinctively create narrative, sentiment and observation". She is known for her "With Closed Eyes" style and imagery where the viewer is taked on a "journey into a place where time stands still, and life's special moments, felt by special caresses, tender touches, and fond memories, transport you into a state of inner spirituality, focusing on the nurtured, bonded and spiritual". Her original artwork is currently in the private collections of famous individuals such as Whoopi Goldberg, Honorable Ruth Simmons, Honorable Andrew Young, Jesse L. Martin, Shaun Robinson and more!"