The African American Cultural Society (AACS) is pleased to announce that it has received a gift from artist Bettie Eubanks per curator Meshella Woods, who spoke out in a press release from the society:
The gifted painting titled, “Covered by the Flag,” is a much-appreciated addition to the Cultural Center’s collection of art and artifacts and the first of its kind.
Eubanks formally presented the painting to the AACS at its Feb. 24 general membership meeting.
Receiving a major gift of this kind during Black History Month is significant.
With this generous donation, Eubanks has insured that the AACS is positioned to be a strong steward of paintings in the society’s permanent art collection.
The artist’s motivation for creating the painting and subsequent gift to the African American Cultural Society, as Eubanks put it, is:
One Nation Under God
We, as a people, are all Covered by the Flag.
We have slaved, we have farmed, we have served, and we have died for our country.
By our commitment to our country as Americans…Black Lives Matter.
Protect our children. We are all “Covered by the Flag.”
Eubanks has been a part of the art world since the 1970s.
She is best known for her passionate color expressions that reflect her love of life and nature in her work.
Inspired by the ever-changing life cycle of people and nature, her paintings express vitality, natural beauty and joy through vibrant color and texture.
Bringing together her fine arts training and love of life, she creates an emotional awakening and joy for everyone that has the pleasure of viewing her paintings.
“Our days are a constant infusion of information and expression…Art is the unique opportunity to decidedly infuse our souls with joy and possibility,” says Eubanks, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Jersey City State University. She is a graduate of the Newark School of Fine Arts.
Throughout her life, she has received numerous awards and recognition as an artist.
Eubanks has received the Art Wellness Award for creating the signature piece for Sisters Network, Inc., a Houston-based national breast cancer survivors’ organization.
She has created signature pieces for M.D. Anderson Hospital and Sun magazine.
Her art is part of private and corporate collections. Most recently, her work was included in the permanent collection of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
Eubanks has exhibited her paintings for the past 20 years at the Atlanta Todd Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard Dragonfly Gallery, Firehouse Gallery, El Elegance Gallery, Florida Pine Lakes Gallery, and the Featherstone Gallery.
She is a founding member of the Vineyard African American Artists Group.
Eubanks spends her creative time between Palm Coast and Martha’s Vineyard, and exhibits her work throughout the East Coast and in her Florida studio by appointment.
Giving back to the community is very important, and she shares her love of art through volunteer service projects. She recently has made a financial donation to the AACS youth program.
‘In Unity’ painting donated too
A second painting also has been presented to the African American Cultural Society.
It is a fine art reproduction of “In Unity,” the original painting created by Synthia Saint James.
The presentation, made by the Vulcans’ Retired Firefighters Men’s Club of Florida, was represented by the Rev.
Reggie Bynum, president; Robert Lanier, Frederick Fowler, G. Wesley Powell, James T. Lee, and the Rev. Sims Jones.
The painting raised awareness of the 12 firefighters, who were lost in the terrorist attack on 9/11.
It was mindful of retired Captain Robert Brooks and retired firefighter Robert Ottley of the New York City Fire Department, who passed away last year. Both firefighters were members of the Vulcans’ Retired Firefighters Men’s Club of Florida.
Legacy of artwork
In 2001, artist Synthia Saint James was commissioned by the International Association of Black Firefighters to create a painting honoring Black firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack. This began her deep connection with Black firefighters and their legacy.
She unveiled the painting on Nov. 11, 2001, at a memorial held for the victims and their families in Brooklyn.
The painting, “In Unity,” now hangs on the walls of the Vulcan Station in Brooklyn. A limited edition is proudly displayed at the African American Firefighters Museum (AAFFM), where, in 2013, a fine arts fundraiser for the museum was begun by Saint James.
And now, a reproduction of “In Unity” now hangs at the African American Cultural Society.
The AAFFM, a non-profit organization, is located at 1401 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Tribute to firefighters
It is believed to be the first historical building, the only free-standing African-American Firefighter Museum containing vintage photos and stories of pioneering memorabilia of African-American firefighters, captains, chief officers and historical women, fire-service professionals from around the country.
There stands the memorial tribute to the firefighters who perished during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
Since 1997, Saint James is most celebrated for designing the first Kwanzaa stamp for the United States Postal Service. She received a History-Maker Award and designed the international cover art for Terri McMillan’s book, “Waiting to Exhale.”
Her incredible art has been cherished and collected by Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., Alice Walker, Glynn Turman, Brenda Russell, Jennifer Lewis and many others.
As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved.
Birthday wishes to Kristara Peddlar, Shirley Davis, Olivia R. Price, March 1; Jazmine Major Arnold, March 2; my editor, Jenise Morgan, March 3; Delcena Samuels, Diedre Robinson, March 7.
Happy anniversary to Frank and Almedia Quarterman, March 3; and Robert and Lynne Williams, March 7.