Niagara Falls Art Exhibit Showcases Black Artists From Western New York
Nationwide — The Niagara Arts & Cultural Center is hosting its annual opening “Artist of Color” from February 10 to March 25. This year, African American Contemporary Artists merged with historical legacies of African Americans born and raised in Niagara Falls prior to the 1920s. The art shines a fascinating light on what settles a community, town, city, and state when everyone is moving forward. Historical photos, artifacts, and rare documents are being exhibited. Watch trailer.
Ray Robertson has been Gallery Co-Director for 17 years and has curated the Artists of Color Exhibition for 12 years. He has contributed a wealth of knowledge to the arts for the local community and Western New York. As a professional photographer, sculptor and artist, he’s produced his collection of artwork over 40 years.
This year, the Black Pioneers of Niagara Falls hosted its opening reception on February 10th. The organization was founded by families with ancestors who migrated to Niagara Falls from all over the country and Canada before the 1920s. The Honorable Congressman Edolphus Towns (retired) served for over 40 years, as well as two years as Chairman of the Oversight Committee.
As a former resident raised in Niagara Falls, he spoke about his journey to the DC Capital and the inﬂuence of African American culture in Niagara Falls. Janice Hunt, daughter of Indiana Martin-Hunt, spoke in honor of her mother who received the Congressional Medal of Honor and was raised in Niagara Falls. Martin-Hunt was one of the historical legends of 6888th who during WWII was sent to process over 17 million pieces of mail for U.S. troops, an event which inspired the upcoming Netﬂix movie, Six Triple Eight, produced by Tyler Perry.
A post office and street has been named in Martin-Hunt’s honor in Buffalo, NY. Misty Hunt-Garrett will speak in honor of her mother, the late Crystal Boling-Barton, a historical collector and educator who was born and raised in Niagara Falls. With her passing, Boling-Barton left one of the largest collections in Western New York of African American books, art, artifacts and rare documents.
At 35 years old, she was the ﬁrst woman and African American educator to head a vocational high school (McKinley High) in the history of Buﬀalo, NY. The dedication of Elmwood Avenue in Buﬀalo, NY was named in her honor. Historian Dr. Michael Boston author of “Blacks in Niagara Falls” and Professor at SUNY-Brockport shared his research on the black community of Niagara Falls, of which he has been researching for many years.
The AOC exhibition was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts.
Learn more at https://www.wgrz.com/article/news/local/black-history-month-niagara-falls-art-exhibit-showcases-black-artists-in-western-new-york/71-78ad39b9-9815-432b-836d-704efd9415e2