Dean’s Gallery art exhibition honors Black History Month

Artwork on display in Fresno State's Dean's Gallery

~ By Nancy Barragan, student writer for the College of Arts and Humanities

In honor of Black History Month, the College of Arts & Humanities Dean’s Gallery is hosting an art exhibition called “The African American Experience,” which highlights the context of rich African American traditions, heritage and everyday life experiences. 
Vanessa Addison-Williams, a professor of graphic design in the Department of Art and Design, organized the exhibition for African American History Month

Vanessa Addison-Williams (pictured above), a professor of graphic design in the Department of Art and Design, put together the exhibition.

The exhibition highlights works of visual art created by Fresno State students, alumni, faculty and staff. The art represents an embodiment of various African American themes and interpretations through self-reflection and societal constructs.

“As a designer/artist who has a passion for culture, self-reflection and education, I wanted to establish a space where other creatives (mainly students) could collectively celebrate Black History Month through recognizing, honoring, reflecting and educating through diverse interpretations of African American experiences — past, present, and future,” Addison-Williams said. “I also use the exhibit as an extra-credit assignment for my students to explore culture and diversity through exhibiting their own art or assessing select works of art in the exhibit.”

Each piece seeks to invoke further interest in cultural awareness with simplicities and complexities of cultural aesthetics stemming from experiences, solidarity and diversities.

Black History Month was first inspired by noted Historian and Journalist Carter G. Woodson, who initiated Negro History Week in the 1920s to encourage the teaching of black history in public schools. 

The exhibition includes artwork by the late Dr. Paulette Fleming, who was a Fresno State professor of Art and Design from 1988 to 2015.

“Her art is displayed not only in recognition of Black History Month but also to commemorate her many achievements and contributions in art education and crafts made at Fresno State, throughout the community, as well as nationwide,” Addison-Williams said.

Other participating artists in the exhibition are Addison-Williams, Sharon and Merle Carter, Jacqueline Deniston, Audia Dixon, Aly Honoré, Lovette Hurtado, Quincy Johnson, Ronda Kelley, Darlene Laney, Diran Lyons, William Raines and Robert Rawson. Addison-Williams thanked gallery installation technician Chris Lopez and his interns Melissa Noriego and Janette Porraz for helping install the exhibition.

This art exhibit is open to the public through Friday, March 2. The Dean’s Gallery is located inside of the west wing of the Music Building.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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