The Art of Living Black exhibition has transformed our main gallery with the works of 75 Bay Area artists. Two of these artists, Yolanda Holley and Atiba Sylvia Thomas, sat down and talked with writer Lou Fancher on how this exhibition and their art are important for the community of artists that come together each year. The exhibition is up through February 27.
There are angry answers to questions about why the general public can easily remember the accomplishments of African American athletes and pop music stars, but forget people like Romare Bearden, (1911-1988), a brilliant writer and artist whose collages established him as a preeminent artist of the 20th century.
Locally, cries of complaint can be the reaction when visiting celebrities of color receive greater consideration than Bay Area artistic talent from the black community.
That void of attention was a driving force behind the creation and growing popularity of “The Art of Living Black,” a free community-boosting art exhibit.
Capturing the visual art of 50 regional artists of African descent, the 19th annual exhibit has its origins in metaphorically bare walls, after the late sculptor Jan Hart-Schuyers and late painter Rae Louise Hayward noticed that black artists were not being represented at exhibits.
The Art of Living Black is an eagerly anticipated show each year. And this year is no exception, as the exhibition celebrates 19 years of showcasing the work of Bay Area African American artists! We were thrilled when the fine folks at Radio Free Richmond posted this story about the exhibition. Come see it through February 27.
In the main gallery of the Richmond Art Center hangs a large painting with the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” scrawled across the canvas in blood red paint. Around a corner is series of busts of Malcolm X. Scattered between the two are photographs, abstract paintings, and jewelry — all done by local African American Artists.
These works are displayed as part of the 19th annual “Art of Living Black” exhibit, which opened at the Richmond Art Center this Saturday. Showcasing over 60 local African American artists, the RAC show is the only one of its kind in the Bay Area.
“If you look back 20 years ago, there weren’t too many opportunities for African American artists to show their work together,” explains RAC Executive Director Ric Ambrose. “We felt that living in Richmond and having a large population of African Americans, the show just made sense.”
It is with great sadness that we inform you that we have lost a longtime friend, creative artist and admired colleague. Kato Jaworski, our Studio Art Director, passed away on Sunday, December 28, 2014 after a serious illness. She will be dearly missed by her family, friends, and the artists, students and colleagues she touched at the Richmond Art Center and others in the Richmond community.
We count ourselves extremely lucky and honored to have known Kato since she became part of the Center in 2005. Her incredible energy, boundless enthusiasm and welcoming spirit permeated our hallways and flowed beyond our walls into the community. Kato was a natural leader, a passionate community builder, an inspiring artist and teacher, and a trusted friend and colleague.
Under her leadership this past decade, thousands of adults, teens and children from all across the Bay Area came to the Art Center to experience our engaging art programs. Knowledgeable and inspiring as an arts administrator, Kato designed most of our current studio classes and workshops, building a unique community of artist instructors along the way. Kato also conceived Skeletonfest and Upcycle, our free art-making events for families, and helped develop our art tours for K-12 students. The vibrancy of so many of our programs is due to Kato’s extraordinary commitment and generosity and unwavering dedication to ensuring art remains accessible, affordable and fun.
Education Department, Studio Monitor
What is your favorite thing about the Richmond Art Center?
“The amazing weaving studio. I don’t think there is another resource like it in the Bay Area!”
Susan Pulliam, who volunteers as a studio monitor in the ceramics studio, is a weaver at heart. She fell into volunteering “for selfish reasons,” as she puts it — as a way to access studio hours in the Richmond Art Center’s exceptional weaving studio. But since she also shares a passion for ceramics, she soon found herself loading kilns and learning to mix glazes with Shenny Cruces (the Art Center’s former Ceramics Manager) and works in clay herself.
The Richmond Art Center announces its winter exhibitions which will include the Bay Area’s only exhibition of works by artists of African American descent. Three exhibitions will open on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015 at 10:00 am.
“We are proud to be hosting the 19th annual exhibition for The Art of the Living Black,” says Richard Ambrose, Executive Director for the Richmond Art Center. “There’s no other exhibition, like this one, in the Bay Area that celebrates the work of regional artists of African descent.”
The Art of Living Black was founded 19 years ago by the late sculptor Jan Hart-Schuyers and late painter Rae Louise Hayward after their realization that black artists were not being represented by galleries in any significant way. This year’s exhibition will showcase a broad range of works by dozens of artists from throughout the Bay Area.
The Art Center’s galleries will also feature paintings by Yisrael Feldsott and works by the Art Center’s professional artist instructors, who teach over 200 classes each year.
The Richmond Art Center announces its free, annual Jazz Art event on Saturday, February 21, 2015 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.
A creative and festive afternoon is planned for the whole family to create art while listening to improvisational jazz music played by acclaimed musicians India Cooke and Don Robinson. This hands-on art-making event is led by Lisa di Prima, the artistic director for the Berkeley Jazz Art Program, and is perfect for everyone in your family to get in the groove and express yourselves by drawing, painting or collaging.
Having trouble finding the perfect holiday gifts for your friends and loved ones? Look no further! The Richmond Art Center has three easy ways for you to give the gift of creativity!
Gift certificates to the Richmond Art Center are an ideal present and are good towards classes, workshops and memberships. Help your friends become makers and artists by giving the gift of art. Purchase a Gift Certificate online today or by phone at 510.620.6772.
A wonderful way to give the gift with benefits that keep giving all year long! Your gift recipient will receive a notification with their membership that the gift is from you. When you give at the patron membership level or above, your friend will enjoy free admission to 700 museums nationwide! Neato! Purchase a Gift Membership online today or by phone at 510.620.6772.
Our Closely Considered – Diebenkorn in Berkeley exhibition catalog is a wonderful addition to any art appreciators library. This four-color catalog beautifully documents our exhibition of works by world-renowned artist Richard Diebenkorn and artists of the Bay Area Figurative movement. Give the gift of art by purchasing this $25 catalog for your friends and loved ones. Order your copies today by stopping by our front desk or calling us at 510.620.6772.
You don’t need to be an artist to work with clay or fibers. All you need is the desire. And a little support from your friends doesn’t hurt. The Richmond Art Center provides artistically inclined residents with potter’s wheels, electric kilns and looms to transform their creativity into a variety of art forms.
Located near the town Civic Center, the Richmond Art Center has one of the last remaining public art programs in the Bay Area. It first opened its doors in 1936. Every week, experienced artists as well as novices from Richmond and surrounding cities, mostly retired, come together to create pottery, weave fiber sculpture, basketry and quilt, and braid wonderful, multi-hued rugs. Most of the activities and events are free, but some classes do require a fee.
These workshops also provide retired people an opportunity to get to know more people in the community. Workshop participants said they are able to make friendships with their classmates and share in the inspiration and joy that comes from making things together.