The Arts Council of Princeton presents “Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards and a Circle of Black Artists” through December 3. The exhibition, on view in the Arts Council’s Taplin Gallery, reveals how Black artist/teachers were integral and influential members in a predominantly white regional community in the last quarter of the 20th century.
This exhibition focuses on five master artists who lived and worked within 25 miles of each other in the geographic region from Princeton, New Jersey to New Hope, Pennsylvania: James Wilson Edwards, Rex Goreleigh, Hughie Lee-Smith, Selma Hortense Burke, and Wendell T. Brooks. These Black artists represent a diverse and vibrant regional arts community not acknowledged in contemporary American art history.
The public is invited to attend several special events in conjunction with the groundbreaking exhibition. On Thursday, November 3, the Humanities Council will co-sponsor “How Museums are Diversifying their Collections to Include Black and Brown Artists,” a symposium jointly organized by the Arts Council and the Princeton University Art Museum. The event is free and will be held at Art on Hulfish at 5 pm.
A Williams College survey of the works in the collections of all major US museums in 2019 found that just 1.2% of works were created by Black artists. The symposium will feature museum curators and directors who will present how museums are now working to diversify their collections.
Panelists include Maura Reilly (Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University), Brittany Webb (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts), Catherine Evans (The Newark Museum of Art), and Laura Giles (Princeton University Art Museum). Rachael Z. DeLue (Art & Archaeology) will serve as discussant, and James Steward (Princeton University Art Museum) and Adam Welch (Arts Council of Princeton) will give remarks.