By Quinton R. Arthur
As Black History Month continues, museums, art galleries and other locales showcase various black artists from Chicago. Many of the most recognized pieces of work were started in Chicago.
Visual arts impacts the lives of many residents of Chicago. Many murals, buildings and locations such as the Southside Community Art Center are a direct result of an arts movement that took place in the 1930s to 1950s.
The Chicago Black Renaissance is a period that took place shortly after the spark of the Harlem Renaissance. Though the movement was smaller in comparison, it helped shape many of the artist in communities in the south side of Chicago.
The SSCAC is located in the Bronzeville neighborhood. The historic venue was founded in 1940 by President Roosevelt, making it the oldest African-American art center in the country. The SSCAC “preserves, conserves, and promotes the legacy and future of African American art and artists while educating the community on the value of art and culture,” according to their website.
The center allows free lessons in art to students and has a variety of collections for the public to view.
In the book, “The Black Chicago Renaissance,” contributor Darlene Clark Hine credits Black Renaissance art with changing the way that black women were recognized.
Another venue showcasing black artists this month is the Dusable Museum of African American History, located in Hyde Park.
The DuSable Museum has a new exhibit featuring the paintings of William Edouard Scott, Archibald John Motley, Jr. and Eldzier Cortor. Each artist has their own unique style of painting.
Scott focused on landscapes and portraits. Motley Jr.’s work combined the prominent jazz culture of Chicago with sensuality. Cortor’s work focused on black women.
The paintings help evoke a beautiful aesthetic experience but also instills a respect for black culture and heritage.
“It was very inspiring, seeing the work of the artist and the growth of art in Chicago they helped to make possible,” says Robert Payne, a patron at the museum.
The new exhibit at the DuSable Museum can be viewed all month long.