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Friday, February 3 – April 8, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, February 3, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Above: Black Beauty by Fahamu Pecou, Acrylic, enamel, spray paint and gold leaf on canvas, 48 x 84 inches. 2016. Photo courtesy the Artist and Lyons Wier Gallery, New York.

We are pleased to invite the public to the Carnegie Center for Art and History for the free, opening reception of our first new art exhibition of 2017. Our galleries welcome the works of ten African American artists from across the United States. Participating artists include: Ray Dalton, Stephen Flemister, Robyn Gibson, Natasha Giles, Christina Long, Fahamu Pecou, LaNia Roberts, Dread Scott, Scheherazade Tillet, and Shawn Michael Warren.

Carnegie Center Curator, Dan Pfalzgraf has pointed out, “This is an exhibit born out of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, created to provide space for people to be seen and heard. This exhibition is about sharing histories and celebrating lives, and to encourage understanding and respect among neighbors.” Our exhibition’s goal, however, is to create a platform for dialogue, civility, and understanding through the use of visual art. Pfalzgraf adds, “In this moment in history, the Carnegie Center for Art and History felt a sense of urgency to share our space to highlight the work and vision of both local and national African American artists to bring national conversations to our space and community.”

Pfalzgraf also acknowledges that “It is important for African American children to be able to walk into a museum and see images that they can immediately identify with.”…“This exhibit also provides a significant opportunity for non-African American visitors to step outside of themselves to hear what others are saying, to see things they may not have seen before, and to better recognize the things that are universal to us all.” Art is a very good way to communicate this idea.

This goes to the heart of what the Carnegie Center is trying to accomplish not only through this temporary exhibition, but also through the two permanent exhibits we showcase on Southern Indiana’s and Kentucky’s connection with the Underground Railroad and through the life story of former escaped slave and later New Albany resident, Lucy Higgs Nichols. The Carnegie Center as a department of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library is charged: “To support the growth & creativity of an engaged, informed, and connected community.” Providing such learning and discovery opportunities goes to the heart of who we are as a cultural organization.

The ten artists in “#BlackArtMatters” are men and women, young and old and embrace a variety of approaches and media from painting, drawing, collage, zines, photography, video, performance, and sculpture and often mix media in surprising ways. Overwhelmingly, the artists chosen for this exhibition work closely with the human figure. There is a strong commitment and desire among the ten artists to educate the public on respecting and valuing differences, to recognize that African American history is still American history.

The Carnegie Center for Art and History, a department of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, is a contemporary gallery and history museum that offers a full schedule of changing exhibitions and other educational programs. The Carnegie Center also features the permanent local history exhibits, Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage: Men and Women of the Underground Railroad and Remembered: the Life of Lucy Higgs Nichols. The Carnegie Center is also home to the George Morrison Gallery where paintings by 19th Century and 20th Century Southern Indiana artists are displayed on a rotating basis.

The Carnegie Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM. Our address is 201 East Spring Street in historic downtown New Albany, Indiana. The Carnegie Center for Art and History is accessible and admission is free. For more information on exhibits, events, and classes, please visit www.carnegiecenter.org and www.facebook.com/nacarnegie.