The grounds of Howard University were a sprawling canvas of inspired expression and talent this month as artists from across the country converged on D.C. for the 10th annual Harlem Fine Arts Show.
The three-day event on Father’s Day weekend was a celebration of the African Diaspora that brought together contemporary artists with the growing class of collectors. The idea for the event is to showcase cultural ideas and raise awareness through the creations through international, national and local artists.
“As the largest traveling African Diasporic art show in the United States, HFAS continues to shape the future of diversity and inclusion in the fine arts world,” said show founder Dion Clarke. “We are the only show dedicated to displaying artists and galleries who show the breadth and diversity of global Black experiences.”
Hundreds of pieces on display lived up to Clarke’s promise that the event would be thought-provoking.
“It was an honor to collaborate with the Harlem Fine Arts Show,” said Ellen Jefferson, a member of Howard University’s greater D.C. alumni chapter, which hosted the event.
Standing in front of some of her paintings, area artist Vega Ensinga Terrell said, “I am really excited to be part of the Harlem Fine Arts’ Washington, D.C., show because it is a collection of some of the most incredible artists in the country and I am really happy to represent some of the local artists.”
The art show, first held in February 2010 in New York City, has attracted more than 100,000 collectors, art enthusiasts, educators, students and professionals over the years to locations nationwide, including Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, Atlanta, Chicago and New York.
The D.C. show had more than 30 galleries, including a salute to African Americans in Technology (AAIT), a family day and one titled “The Healing Power of Art.”
The event featured the second annual Salute to African Americans in Medicine, in which nine physicians from the D.C. region were honored at the campus’s Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library. Fathers also were in the spotlight, as men from across the area were honored.
National artists featured at the event included Andrew Nichols of St. Albans, New York; Buchi Upjohn of Georgia; Corinthia Peoples of California; Frank Frazier of Dallas; Kevin Williams of Chicago; LaShun Beal of Houston; Louise Cutler of Fort Collins, Colorado; Thomas Lockhart of Denver and Water Kolours of Memphis, Tennessee.
“It is important to be in a show like this because it brings together all types of people from the diaspora,” said Ross Brown, an artist from Richmond, Virginia, who took part in the exhibition on June 16. “In most galleries, there is somewhat of an elitist aspect, but during an event like this, you are talking to people from all sorts of backgrounds.”
On Father’s Day, Shondale Gray, coordinator of the fathers tribute, and Rev. Mark Wade presented awards to 14 fathers, including Bishop Joel Peebles, pastor of City of Praise; George Lambert, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Urban League; Tony Register, Donald Thigpen, Rev. Dean Nelson, Gregory Boykin, Tim Robinson, Willie Hines and Lawrence Branch.
“This was a special ceremony to recognize men who have and still are making a significant difference in their communities and spheres of influence,” said Gray, whose husband, gospel artist Kevin LeVar, also was among the honorees.