28 may 1968 & 'negro artists in washington' art exhibit @gwu
#OTD 28 May 1968 Washingtonians enjoyed the last day of the Negro Artists in Washington exhibition in the Dimock Room, Lower Lisner Auditorium, (21st & H Sts NW) at the George Washington University Art Gallery. The exhibit was a complement to the Black Arts Festival, chaired by Peggy Cooper, a senior and member of the Black Student Union. Douglas H. Teller, white, Curator of Art, arranged the exhibition.
The featured artists were Richard Dempsey, Sam Gilliam, Lloyd McNeill, Leo Robinson, Alma Thomas and Kenneth Young. The majority of the work on display was abstract art.
Sam Gilliam wrote in the program:
"This is an exhibit of works by artists who are willing to show together. However, this is more than an art exhibit: this is an event that is necessarily significant. [The artists] and I live in this community and may be known to you. If not, it is important that you know that we are black.
What difference does it make? Even though art is predicated on more than the eyes can see, can you observe that we are black in these works. I seriously doubt it. Nor do I think that this factor contributes to the quality of this show: that question in this particular instance is a secondary question. What is really important is the simple fact that we are showing together."
Your comments are welcome below. Did you, a family member or neighbor attend the exhibit? What do you remember about it? Do you have a piece of the artists' work in your collection? What do you remember about the gallery? Do you remember Peggy Cooper as a student? Did you work with her on the festival? Do you remember the curator? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy of the George Washington University Gelman Library Special Collections, Dimock Gallery Records.