Family Focus

Gantt exhibition surveys struggles, strengths and celebrations of Black creativity

Mixed-media artist Percy King’s work is featured among 24 others in the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture’s first biennial Visual Vanguard: An Exhibition of Black Carolina Artists.

King’s three-dimensional wood portraiture is a unique method of assembly he has deemed The Shaolin Wood Technique.

Visual Vanguard is an examination of twenty-five artists who create a variety of vibrant and versatile media.

The exhibition surveys the struggles, strengths and celebrations of Black creativity in the Carolinas through visual art, performance, video, and poetry.

Historically, African-American artists have been compelled to make their own way within the art world, challenging traditional ideas of cultural representation and creating their own systems of merit, criticality and reward outside of the mainstream.

Open Air is a monthly series of virtual studio visits and intimate conversations with Black artists across the United States.

During the virtual program, participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at new art as it’s being created, while connecting the makers’ works to some of the most pressing issues of our times.

Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, King attended an arts-based elementary school, played defensive back for The Ohio State Buckeyes from 1995 to 2000, graduated with a BA in Communications, and then pursued a brief career in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The mixed-media artist has depicted everyday African-Americans, entertainers, political figures — including President Barack Obama — and other creatives.

His portrait of Langston Hughes was among the works featured in “I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 (2018-2019),” the Columbus Museum of Art’s award-winning exhibition curated by scholar Wil Haygood.

King has six works in the Columbus Museum of Art permanent collection.

This free virtual program will be streamed Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 7:00 p.m. on the Gantt Center’s official YouTube channel.

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African- American Arts + Culture celebrates the contributions of Africans and African- Americans to American culture and serves as a community epicenter for music, dance, theater, visual art, film, arts education programs, literature and community outreach.

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture presents, preserves and celebrates excellence in the art, history and culture of African-Americans and people of African descent.

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