BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
The opening reception for the art exhibit “Fifty Years of African-American Achievement, from Selma to the White House,” was held at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural & Educational Center on Jan. 17.
The show was inspired in part by the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“We were thinking of doing the March on Washington, but we thought that was too small of a description for the artists to tailor their art. We thought we would just see marches, marches, marches throughout the artwork,” said Richlin Ryan, one of the curators of the event.
Variety of submissions
“So we opened it up and gave them more room to create and express their views on the progress of African-Americans through the 50 years of the movement,” she said.
“We benchmarked it from Selma to the White House to give the artists a large field to express their views of what they see as progress and we received a lot of submissions.”
Ryan says that more than 30 pieces were submitted and made it into the show, with only two pieces being juried out. “It runs from photography, mixed medium, oil, acrylics, watercolor and three dimensional pieces as well.”
“We have artists from Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Palm Coast and Daytona artists as well.”
First, second and third prize winners were revealed at the opening reception. First place went to Anthony Armstrong of DeLand with his painting “First Day.’’ Second place went to Lawrence Walden of Jacksonville with a mixed media piece titled “Decorative Mask with Dreads” and third went to Alice Johnson of Daytona Beach with her painting “Urban Scene.”
“I’m fascinated by this,” Dr. Ann Taylor remarked of the mixed media piece that placed second. “These are things that you see everyday, but it takes an artist to really capture it.”
The piece used bronze and silver colored china, plates, spoons, forks and twisted metal to create a mask.
“We had about 300 people come through during that two-hour period. It’s the largest crowd we’ve had in the four shows we’ve done to date. We are pleased with that,” said Percy Williamson, director of Daytona Beach Leisure Services.
“We also had such a diverse crowd. People from all socioeconomical walks of life and people from all backgrounds came out to the event. The people that came talked about the history of the show and the civil rights movement.”
He added, “We could not have done it without the financial backing of VITAS Innovative Hospice Care.’’
Williamson says the exhibit will be open until April 11 and those people who didn’t have the opportunity to come out to the opening, do not have to worry, as they still have a lot of time to come out.
The center is open from 8 a.m – 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
“We encourage people to come out and take a look at the great exhibit,” Williamson added.