Black Artists on Art: The Legacy Exhibit


                                               baoa-feature-imagePRESS RELEASE

This monumental exhibit features over 58 black fine artists, spanning three generations, and including several contemporary and legendary fine artists including Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Charles White, George “P­Funk” Clinton, and Samella Lewis— America’s leading historian and collector of black fine art.

BAOA is based on the Black Artists on Art book series first created by Dr. Samella Lewis and Ruth G. Waddy in 1969, which catalogued over 150 actively-producing black fine artists who were often overlooked by mainstream museums, galleries, and fine art institutions. The revolutionary book series was an instant success, and sold thousands of copies in its first three years before going out of print.

“I wanted to make a chronology of African American artists, and artists of African descent, to document our history. The historians weren’t doing it. I felt it better the artists do it anyway, through pictorial and written information… It was really about the movement.”

– Dr. Samella Lewis.

Now in 2015, Dr. Lewis’s grandson, Unity Lewis, and co-organizer, Trevor Parham, are continuing her legacy by reviving the book series and organizing the traveling exhibition of the same name – which had its debut at Oakstop Gallery in February 2015. This legacy exhibition unites artists from the original Black Artists on Art books with contemporary artists, resulting in an intergenerational display of black fine art. It also serves as a campaign launch to recruit over 500 new black artists for upcoming volumes of Black Artists on Art.

On February 6th, 2015, Government official Barbara Lee presented the BAOA crew with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for the 46th anniversary of the Black Artists on Art book series, and their commitment to honoring Dr. Samella Lewis, and her contributions to the Black Arts Movement.

After leaving Oakstop, the show traveled to the Marin Community foundation and then to the Petaluma Arts Center. Future tour dates are to be announced, as the exhibit plans to travel the nation over the next few years.

Black Artists on Art Website:

BAOA on Oakstop Website:




Banner for first run of The Legacy Exhibit at Oakstop




The exhibit was re-curated to feature all black female artists for Women’s History Month




BAOA receives special congressional recognition for the Legacy Exhibit




First run at Oakstop extended through April, 2015




Group photo of the BAOA collective at Oakstop in Oakland




BAOA has it’s second run at Marin Community Foundation




The third and final run of the year for the BAOA: Legacy Exhibit at Petaluma Arts Center


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