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Hudson Valley Press

February 5th, 2014

African-American Artists Highlighted at Howland

Michael White, Walter Evans (Martha Evans), Josephine Green, Ron Brown, Donald Whitely, Symantha Outlaw, and Richard Outlaw were among the featured artists in the Howland Cultural Center’s annual celebration of African-American History Month art exhibit, that began on Saturday, February 1, 2014. Hudson Valley Press/CHUCK STEWART, JR.
BEACON - The Howland Cultural Center held its annual celebration of National African-American History Month which features ten African-American artists of the Hudson Valley. An opening reception to celebrate the artists took place last Saturday.

Artists exhibiting this year are Ronald Brown, ceramics; Helen Douglas, paintings; Walter Evans showing his deceased mother, Martha Evans’s paintings; Josephine Green, photography; Robert L. Lewis, paintings, Richard Outlaw, paintings - along with his daughter, Symantha Outlaw, a budding artist; Michael White, tapestry paintings; Donald Whitely, photograph, and Jacob Williams, paintings.  
Artist Ron Brown has been creating art for 21 years, though he still considers himself a novice. Brown, who is self-taught, has a unique way of creating his art, which is often inspired by people, culture and places he travels.

For his piece titled “Aja,” he placed some clay on his five-year-old daughter’s face and told her to play. The end result was a beautiful mask which he painted. For another mask, the artist traveled to Cooperstown to visit with Native Americans. Taking inspiration from disks on the wall of Native American features, he took clay, texturized it, and then built the mouth and nose to create the piece “Green Door Guardian.”

Richard Outlaw has been a featured artist at the Howland numerous times, including a solo exhibition last year. Now retired, Outlaw is exploring new mediums.

Outlaw, who always had an interest in doing paper collages, could never find the time. Since retiring five months ago, he can focus on these new mediums. One of his first, is titled “The March.” It consists of the different aspects of the civil rights movement and also the March on Washington. There are various images of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, John Brown, Bull Connor, and the Bombing of the First Baptist Church.

Another collage Outlaw produced is titled “RIP.” This piece pays tribute to those who have died. “Trayvon Martin was the inspiration for this piece,” Outlaw said. There are images of people from the Civil Rights era to the modern day protesting. There are powerful images of people protesting the verdict of Zimmerman, as the artist states, “basically the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

 Having produces his first few collages; Outlaw hopes to do a couple hundred more.

 Abbey Gilligan, who attended the artist reception, called her experience “fabulous” and “a welcomed surprise.” Invited by a student, Gilligan was amazed at the variety of art work on display at the Howland.

The first time attendee to the Howland, Gilligan said she was moved by Richard Outlaw’s piece titled “Mandela.” “I very much love Outlaw’s Mandela montage. It was very powerful. It literally brought tears to my eyes,” Gilligan said.

 Don’t worry if you missed it, as the exhibition will hang through Sunday, February 23. The weekly gallery hours follow from 1 – 5 pm every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Two exceptions to the schedule are Sundays, February 9 & 23 when the art gallery is closed to the general viewing public as the Howland Chamber Music Circle presents two concerts in their winter Piano Festival.

 Also included in the month long celebration at the Howland are programs celebrating music and live theater:  On Saturday, February 1st, the Coffeehouse presented The Samkofa African Dance & Drum Troupe;  on Saturday, February 15th, Goldee Green’s production of Addicted to Love – aka - Mad Romance/Bad Romance with a wide array of music, song, and theater, will take place at 7:30 pm, and on Sunday, February 16th,  at 3:00 pm, The Piedmont Duo returns to the Howland CC to perform acoustic blues, the authentic Piedmont blues tradition of the South.  

For further information about these programs, please call (845) 831-4988 or 831-4614.  The Howland Cultural Center is located at the east end of Main Street, (477) in Beacon, NY.

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