The Delaware Museum of Art Reconstructs a Pivotal 1970s Art Exhibit: Afro American Images 1971

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) – The Delaware Museum of Art is re-enacting a landmark 1970s art exhibit honoring African-American artists and educators who were rejected by the museum half a century ago.

Christie Ileto has the story in this week’s 6abc Loves the Arts.

Afro American Images 1971, The Vision of Percy Ricks transports visitors back in time.

“This is a recreation of a landmark exhibit that took place in 1971,” says Margaret Winslow, curator of contemporary art at the Delaware Art Museum.

There are works by 66 African American artists, curated by Percy Ricks.

“He was really thinking beyond his time and also putting into perspective how the mainstream had pretty much marginalized African-American artists,” says James E. Newton, ED.D, artist and member of Aesthetic Dynamics , Inc.

The exhibition begins with an introduction from Aesthetic Dynamics, a collective of multiracial artists founded by Ricks.

It was his vision to bring artists and musicians together under one umbrella,” says Arnold S. Hurtt, vice president of Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc.

The group was founded following the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King

“It was necessary because it was during the riots,” Hurtt says.

The Governor of Delaware had sent the National Guard to Wilmington for an extended military occupation.

“They wanted to present an exhibition that celebrated inspirational artistic creativity,” says Winslow.

The second part of the exhibition explores Ricks’ extensive network of relationships.

“Ricks had enrolled at Howard University when he was 16,” Hurtt says.

He studied under James A Porter.

“Regarded as the father and dean of African-American art,” says Newton.

In 1971, Ricks wanted to stage the exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum

“They were given silence,” Winslow says.

“The Delaware Armory became the perfect place,” says Newton.

But half a century later, Percy Ricks gets his wish.

“Its real message is that the arts could be used as a mode and form of communication,” says Newton.

The Vision of Percy Ricks is on view at the Delaware Art Museum until January 23. You can find the link for tickets at 6abc dot com slash loves the arts.

African-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks | Facebook | instagram
2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19806

On view until January 23, 2022
Free entries on Sunday

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