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Upcoming Arts Festivals + Deadlines | Apply Today!

columbus arts festival

Dear BlackArtNews® Artist,

This is a list of shows that have recently started accepting applications and shows with an upcoming deadline. Submit your applications today!

East Lansing Art Festival 2020 - East Lansing, Michigan
OPEN DATE: 9/4/2019
DEADLINE: 1/31/2020

Fee (Jury Fee): $25.00
Event Dates: 5/16/2020 - 5/17/2020

Event Website
Established in 1964, the East Lansing Art Festival is an evolving outdoor celebration of fine art and fine craft which has grown to include children's art education activities, an artist demonstration area, poetry readings, and live music. The free festival opens on Saturday morning and runs through Sunday afternoon. This highly anticipated mid-Michigan festival attracts over 70,000 knowledgeable art patrons from around the region, and is consistently ranked in Sunshine Artist Magazine's annual best 100 shows listing.


Hibiscus Festival Fine Art and Fine Craft Show 2020 - Vero Beach, Florida
OPEN DATE: 9/6/2019
DEADLINE: 3/1/2020

Fee (Application Fee): $25.00
Event Dates: 3/28/2020 - 3/29/2020

Event Website
The 2020 Hibiscus Festival is very enthused to welcome artists to Vero Beach for the seventeenth year.  Our City just celebrated it's Centennial and this annual festival, in the heart of Downtown, features the Fine Art Show along with Music, Food, and History. Local residents and visitors from Florida and beyond look forward to this annual two-day event. Main Street Vero Beach will take over take over four blocks along 14th Avenue and art lovers come to browse and buy. This is the fifth year the activities last for two days giving art lovers a longer opportunity to see the juried Fine Art and Fine Craft Show.  An exciting array of music will add to the lively and fun atmosphere in the downtown area. In addition to the Fine Art Show, the Hibiscus Festival features activities for children, a student art show, and delicious food for picnics in the park, plus Sponsor and Non-Profit booths and kiosks.  Follow the Hibiscus Festival on Facebook and watch the Main Street Vero Beach website for up to the minute details and to see the pictures of beautiful Downtown Vero Beach. Main Street Vero Beach and The Hibiscus Festival Committee look forward to showing our Vero Beach hospitality to all participating artists and their families.  The art galleries, retail stores, and restaurants in downtown will be open to welcome visitors.

King William Fair 2020 (San Antonio, TX) - San Antonio, Texas
OPEN DATE: 9/6/2019
DEADLINE: 12/9/2019

Fee (Application Fee): $35.00
Event Dates: 4/25/2020 - 4/25/2020

Event Website
The King William Fair is a one-day event to be held on Saturday, April 25, 2020, from 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. The first Fair was held in 1968 and today approximately 40,000 visitors attend this event on the final Saturday of “Fiesta” -- San Antonio's biggest and most well-known festival. This event consists of 200 Art and Craft exhibitors, live music and dance performances, food and beverage booths, Kids Kingdom, and a quirky parade. Set on the streets of the historic King William District of San Antonio, Texas, among the beauty of its stately homes and gracious gardens, the King William Fair has long enjoyed the reputation of San Antonio's "Best Family-Friendly Fiesta Event" with the "Quirkiest Parade."

Art in The Loop 2020 - Memphis, Tennessee
OPEN DATE: 9/8/2019
DEADLINE: 11/30/2019

Fee (Jury Fee (non refundable)): $25.00
Event Dates: 4/3/2020 - 4/5/2020

Event Website
Art Works Foundation announces its Third Annual Art in The Loop Festival in Memphis, TN, Friday, April 3rd – Sunday, April 5th, 2020.

Art in The Loop will celebrate its third year in east Memphis, near Poplar & I-240, on Ridgeway Loop Road. This unique site is situated in between 1.5 million square feet of high level offices and one of Memphis' most exclusive residential areas (the founders of FedEx & AutoZone live right around the corner).  In addition to offices, the area boasts several hotels (including the Memphis Hilton) and a 4 screen Cinema dedicated to films attractive to the over 45 audiences; there is also a Mega-Church within view of our festival site, which boosts additional traffic on Sunday.

Our Sponsors include: WKNO TV & FM, the local PBS & NPR Affiliates & Memphis Magazine.  Promotional efforts also include: outdoor advertising and an extensive direct mail effort (more than 11K on our list), as well as a vigorous campaigns involving press placements and social media.

60 to 80 Artists will be admitted this year; all Artists selected will have corner spaces; cash prizes are awarded.

For more about ArtWorks Foundation, see - https://www.artworks.foundation/
For more about this show, see -http://www.artintheloop.org/

Tulip Time Artisan Market 2020 - Holland, Michigan
OPEN DATE: 9/9/2019
DEADLINE: 2/9/2020

Fee (Application Fee): $35.00
Event Dates: 5/2/2020 - 5/3/2020

Event Website
Now in its 20th year, Tulip Time Festival invites you apply and participate in the 2020 Artisan Market! As is tradition, the Artisan Market will be a juried show, mandating all artists display only handmade and original work. Buy/sell vendors are strictly prohibited. The jury strives to ensure the highest quality art, while also minimizing duplication.

MSU 56th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts Show 2019 - East Lansing, Michigan
OPEN DATE: 9/10/2019
DEADLINE: 10/25/2019

Fee (Application & Processing Fee): $30.00
Event Dates: 12/7/2019 - 12/8/2019

Event Website
In its 56th year, the Winter Arts and Crafts show will take place, once again, in the historic MSU Union, which is located on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road in East Lansing, Michigan. We're excited to host yet another great show!
100% of the fees collected from the application process go to the MSU University Activities Board (UAB) for programming events for the MSU student body. Since 1916 UAB has provided quality social, recreations and educational programs planned and implemented by students, for students in the MSU Community. UAB provides free or low-cost entertainment for students and serves as an alternate late night/weekend entertainment choice. UAB is committed to the personal, professional and educational development of its members.For more information on MSU’s University Activities Board or the Arts & Crafts Shows, please contact the Show Coordinator at 517-355-3354 or or email us at uab@msu.edu.


Columbus Arts Festival 2020 - Columbus, Ohio
OPEN DATE: 9/11/2019
DEADLINE: 12/13/2019

Fee (Application Fee (non-refundable)): $40.00
Event Dates: 6/12/2020 - 6/14/2020

Event Website
The Columbus Arts Festival honored by Sunshine Artist Magazine and Artfair Calendar as one of the top fine art and fine craft festivals in the country, attracted approximately 500,000 art patrons last year to Columbus’ Downtown Riverfront along the beautiful new Scioto Mile and Bicentennial Park. Up to 275 national and international artists will be selected from over 1,000 applicants for coveted positions.

Applicants are selected in a completely blind jury process - only the art and booth set up are evaluated for consideration in the show - no other information about the artists is revealed to the jurors.

The Festival offers a vibrant atmosphere in which to buy and sell original work—and the opportunity for patrons and artists to meet face to face. The Artists' Market is certainly the heart of the festival, but there are other exciting attractions for everyone to enjoy including music, poetry, theater, dance and a host of hands-on art activities. We invite you to apply to exhibit at the 2020 Columbus Arts Festival.

Toledo Fine Art Fair 2020 - Toledo, Ohio
OPEN DATE: 9/11/2019
DEADLINE: 8/1/2020

Fee (Application Fee): $25.00
Event Dates: 11/7/2020 - 11/8/2020

Event Website
The 2020 Toledo Fine Art Fair is a juried fine art and uniique and high-end fine craft show located indoors at the Seagate Center in Downtown Toledo. This venue is in the center of the revitalized & happening downtown Toledo, across the street from the Mudhens Minor League Baseball Statium, Tony Pacco's, and the Spaghetti Warehouse. The downtown area is filled with beautiful historic architecture and a thriving artist community.

Saturday November 7th 11am - 8pm
Sunday November 8th Noon - 6pm

Set-up is all day Friday January 10th. Time slots and details will be given about ten days prior to the event. All artists must set up on Friday as Saturday is set-up for the wineries only. Specific details will be sent to admitted artists.

Jurying will begin August 1st, 2020 and should complete by August 9th. Artists will be notified by August 11th, 2020.

Purchase Booth Deadline is September 9th, 2020.

Cow Chip Arts and Crafts Fair 2020 - Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
OPEN DATE: 9/11/2019
DEADLINE: 5/1/2020

Fee (Jury Fee): $25.00
Event Dates: 9/5/2020 - 9/5/2020

Event Website
Over the years, the lighthearted tradition continues! We welcome you to attend the annual Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival! The arts and crafts fair is a part of this festival, which sees over 40,000 attendees each year. This is one of the region's largest events, and we invite you to submit an application to be a part of it! Our fair hosts 150 vendor spaces, which guarantees a wide variety of art and craft items for sale!

Cow Chip Arts and Crafts Fair will be held on Saturday, September 5, 2020 from 9am-5pm. This one day, outdoor art fair is held in Marion Park, Prairie du Sac, WI., along the parade route for the larger Festival.

Eligibility: All exhibited work must be original in concept and must have been created by the accepted applicant.

Not Allowed: Food vendors (including dry dip mixes, salsas, samples, and honey), buy/sell items, consignment pieces, work made with commercial kits, molds, patterns, plans, stencils, or prefabricated forms, and imported items.

Booth spaces are 15ft x 15ft, outdoor only, with no electricity access. Booth spaces are assigned based on date of application, and we will do our best to honor requests. Applications are juried blind by a committee based solely on media category and photos that are submitted. Please note we have updated the map for this year to reflect changes made by our parks department.

For more information, as well as helpful videos on how to apply and resize photos, visit www.riverartsinc.org/cow-chip

New Arts Festivals + Deadlines – Apply Today!

Sugarloaf Craft Festivals: Applications Due Today
11 Shows in PA, VA, NJ & MD

Don’t miss your chance for strong sales in a fun environment. Sugarloaf Craft Festivals is calling artists and craftspeople to apply today. Join your friends at Sugarloaf for 11 well-attended festivals in PA, VA, NJ & MD. Enjoy professionally managed events with indoor spaces at all shows and drive-in setup at most locations. We make it easy for you to make a living doing what you love. Connect with appreciative shoppers and build a network of lifelong collectors in multiple areas. Apply today to be part of Sugarloaf’s special creative community! Space is limited, jewelry category sold out. **Applications Due Now!**

Apply FREE! Use code: Sugarloaf20
**Apps Due Now** Limited Space Remains 

  • Oct 11, 12, 13, 2019: Timonium, MD
    Maryland State Fairgrounds / All spaces indoors
  • Oct 18, 19, 20, 2019: Chantilly, VA
    Dulles Expo Center / All spaces indoors
  • Nov 8, 9, 10, 2019: Oaks, PA 
    Greater Philadelphia Expo Center / All spaces indoors
  • Nov 15, 16, 17, 2019: Edison, NJ 
    New Jersey Expo & Convention Ctr. / All spaces indoors
  • Nov 22, 23, 24, 2019: Gaithersburg, MD
    Mont. Co Fairgrounds / limited Barn & Outdoor spaces available, indoor sold out
  • Dec. 6, 7, 8, 2019: Chantilly, VA
    Dulles Expo Center / All spaces indoors

  • March 6, 7, 8, 2020: Edison, NJ
    New Jersey Expo & Convention Ctr. / All spaces indoors
  • March 20, 21, 22, 2020: Oaks, PA
    Greater Philadelphia Expo Center / All spaces indoors
  • March 27, 28, 29, 2020: Chantilly, VA
    Dulles Expo Center / All spaces indoors
  • April 17, 18, 19, 2020: Gaithersburg, MD
    Mont. Co. Fairgrounds / Indoor, Barn & Outdoor spaces
  • April 24, 25, 26, 2020: Timonium, MD
    Maryland State Fairgrounds / All spaces indoors

Application Jury Fee: $20
Jury Results Notification Date: within 2 weeks
Contact Name: Lorrie Staley
Contact Email: apply@SugarloafFest.com
Contact Phone: 800-210-9900
Show Website: www.SugarloafCrafts.com

Betye Saar: Call and Response | Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Betye Saar (b. 1926, Los Angeles) is one of the most talented artists of her generation. She is not as well known as her talents deserve, however, no doubt largely because she is a black woman who came of age in the 1960s outside of New York City. Her work consistently addresses issues of race, gender, and spirituality. Very much a part of the strong assemblage tradition of Southern California, Saar's work combines many different symbols along with objects found on her travels across Africa, Mexico, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, as well as in L.A. itself.

Betye Saar: Call and Response looks at the relationship between preliminary sketches in small sketchbooks, which Saar has made throughout her career, and finished works. In addition, the show  includes approximately a dozen small travel sketchbooks with more finished drawings--relating to leitmotifs seen throughout Saar's oeuvre--that she has made over a lifetime of journeys worldwide.
The exhibition covers the span of Saar's career, including work from her early years up through a new sculptural installation. A fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition, taking physical form in response to Saar's sketchbooks. This is the first exhibition at a California museum to address her entire career and the first anywhere to focus on her sketchbooks.
Betye Saar: Call and Response is curated by Carol S. Eliel, Senior Curator of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and will travel to The Morgan Library & Museum, New York (May 27 - September 13, 2020) and Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (February 13 - May 9, 2021).
The exhibition catalogue, featuring a foreword by Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and essay by Carol S. Eliel, is published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and DelMonico Books/Prestel.
For additional information, please visit lacma.org 

For inquires, please contact Mary Skarbek, Director, Roberts Projects at +1.323.549.0223, mary@robertsprojectsla.com


Image: Betye Saar I'll Bend But I Will Not Break, 1998, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Lynda and Stewart Resnick through the 2018 Collectors Committee, © Betye Saar, courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California

Young, black and female artists break art market records in London, redressing a historic imbalance


In the absence of too many stellar prices – David Hockney’s panoramic portrait of art curator Henry Geldzahler and his boyfriend Christopher Scott stood out a mile at a predicted £30 million – the trend spotlight at last week’s contemporary art sales in London fell on young, black and female artists.

Sotheby’s opened their sales with seven consecutive works from YBAs Jenny Saville and Tracey Emin to historic international figures Louise Bourgeois and Agnes Martin. The mid-career Brit Rebecca Warren probably fared best of the bunch when a bulbous bronze figure soared to a record £555,000.

Sotheby’s new Head of Sale, Emma Baker, had taken the opportunity to explore her university research on female…

Source: Young, black and female artists break art market records in London, redressing a historic imbalance

Six black women dancers interpret the struggles of racism and police brutality through their movements.

Directed By Milwaukee Based Filmmaker Rosella Joseph

This is America: Blacks as prop


By  Rajmohan Sudhakar, DH News Service, Bengaluru

So, what are black actors in a Hollywood film? Essentially they are props.

The white man as the all-encompassing teacher of civility to the ‘not-so civilised’ rest, is perhaps so entrenched in our collective subconscious that it may take a volley of new films to deal even the faintest of blows to that trope.

What Green Book does is a reversal. It presents a black gentleman in Don Shirley, a classical pianist, celebrated for the virtuoso he is in 1960s America, and his Italian American bouncer-turned-chauffeur who learns the basics of civility from the musician himself, during their trip to the deep south for a concert tour.

That the film won the Best Picture Oscar, and managed to kick up controversy on social platforms thereafter is quite intriguing. Mahershala Ali’s Don Shirley and Viggo Mortensen’s Tony Vallelonga are a joy to watch — both exceptionally good at their craft.

The film borrows the title from The Negro Motorist Green-Book, a manual for travelling African Americans to help them find welcoming motels and eateries in a racially divided America.

The 91st Oscars

Though at a glance, the 91st Academy awards appear as a diverse platter with Rami Malek’s Best Actor win for Bohemian Rhapsody, Alfonso Cuaron as the Best Director for Roma and the best writing prize for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman along with the recognition for Black Panther, the credibility of the intent beneath the facade of sickening sweetness remains questionable.

Hollywood, for a fact, has never attempted to portray the African American for what s/he is, except for a few films that never truly managed to draw the attention they deserved for the same racial prejudice — works of director Spike Lee and Barry Jenkins’ recent work Moonlight come to mind. Mahershala Ali starred in Moonlight too, which won the actor an Oscar for that movie as well.

So, what are black actors in a Hollywood film? Essentially they are props. That is why even a genuine effort to tell the story of a black-white friendship, as in the Green Book, seems to invite a petty row.

Forceful posturing

The truth is, with such rich history in music, and the black identity at the centre of it, America still fails to acknowledge the community’s contributions to that country even after the passing of centuries.
Jazz legends have come and gone. But we rarely see a film that celebrates them or jazz, except for scores and such, and half-baked profiles of greats like Miles Davis made so poorly.

The question remains, why Hollywood is not able to do justice in reflecting upon African American cultural history in film. Plainly put, it never considered that as important.
It reduced the black players to mere props in their portrayal of American society. And when push came to shove from various quarters of late, it started to make movies that patronised blacks. Never really considering s/he is as capable or deserving artistic recognition as much as the predominantly white community of artists and crew.

Repression and creative genius 

In the past, such repression produced legends, at least in music, such as Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Mary Lou Williams, Thelonius Monk and Herbie Hancock to name a few in a long line of great American artists. And still, they remain hugely missed, just as they are black.

In fact, in Green Book, why Don Shirley is more of a classical pianist, not a jazz musician is a testimony to the fact that he did not want to identify with the jazz musicians who often played for the white man’s entertainment at the elite clubs of New York.

Shirley, on the contrary, wanted to be associated with classical music, than the often wretched and degraded jazz players, who smoked and drank on stage finding themselves in the midst of all debauchery. There is a scene in Green Book when Shirley and the chauffeur visit an Afro-American restaurant, where Shirley carefully puts away the glass of whisky resting on the piano, upon an invitation to play by a bartender.

Green Book does not even dwell that deep into music, nor does it confront the racial spectre in earnest. If one expected better choices at the Oscars, one has rather high expectations from an industry that has always downplayed the achievements of rich culture and tradition and made a mockery of it in visual arts.

Childish Gambino’s take 

Childish Gambino’s This is America paints a satirical caricatureof black existence.

This very fact is brought forth in a recent groundbreaking music video by Childish Gambino — This is America — which scooped up awards at the recent Grammys and a fair share of critical acclaim after its release.

In fact, those who are indeed worried about the portrayal of African Americans in the entertainment industry, the work of Donald Glover, the artist who goes by the name Childish
Gambino in music, is the definitive case in point, not the Green Book.

‘This is America’ throws the question back at the African American community — What are you folks doing playing blown up versions of yourselves, to answer the question that has haunted mankind forever?  When movies like Green Book try to see the inherent problem from the perpetrator’s perspective, Donald Glover addresses the issue by internalising it.

Glover paints a satirical caricature in the music video of black existence, that took only a couple of minutes or so to convey the message compared to a moving picture that spans a couple of hours in Green Book.

Frankfort, KY Area church honors local African-American artists


As she meandered through the art show honoring local African-American artists at First United Methodist Church Sunday afternoon, Frankfort’s Lane Jacobs was continuously drawn toward a painting of thoroughbreds dashing through water cast in hues of turquoise, green and blue.

“There’s such precision,” she told painter Robert Robinson, of Frankfort, one of the handful of artists who were on hand for a reception following the 11 a.m. service.

As the pair stood together in front of one of his masterpieces, Robinson was all smiles as he explained the method he used to create the splash-like effect near the horses’ hooves.

“It’s just so intricate,” Jacobs exclaimed as she glanced at the artist in awe.

Robinson, a Frankfort native, is retired from the Department of Finance and Administration and currently a deacon at First Baptist Church on Clinton Street. He credits his big brother, Charles, who also has work in the show, with encouraging his art, but he praises God for his talent.

“The greatest instructor is the Lord. I praise and worship Him every day and for everything I have,”

Robert Johnson, Artist

Charles, who graduated from Kentucky State University with a degree in studio art and has taught watercolor workshops, first showed his work at First United Methodist Church last year and has since had pieces exhibited at Capital Cellars on Broadway.

Other artists in the show are Marjorie Duncan Willis and Jardan Paige Doneghy, of Duncan Designs; Leslie Whitlock, minister at First Corinthian Baptist Church; and Joseph Dubronski Jones Sr., a Frankfort native who lives in Louisville.

Jones also picked up the “art bug” at an early age. He remembers watching professionals paint and draw at the Capital Expo Festival. Local painter Michael Duval Finnell was his personal favorite, but he said longtime Frankfort High School art teacher Margaret Frymire played a big role in his development.

“She was a strict disciplinarian who saw my potential and stayed on me consistently,” he explained, adding his mother was also supportive. “I remember my first drawing of a squirrel. It was blue-green and my mother kept it in a scrapbook. She was so proud of it.”

While the show celebrates Black History Month, Phyllis Rogers, of the fine arts committee at First United Methodist, said it will run through the end of March.

Obama Portraits Help Break Visitor Record At The National Portrait Gallery

Obama Portrait

Last month marked a year since the portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama was introduced to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the two vibrant illustrations of the couple have been a major draw for visitors. According to the Washington Post, the portraits of the Obamas were instrumental in helping the Smithsonian museum break a visitor record.

The portraits—which were created by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald—has taken the visitorship at the gallery to new levels. The Smithsonian American Art Museum ended 2018 with a total of 2.3 million visitors; an increase of a million more visitors than they had the previous year. Those who work at the National Gallery’s information desk say that they’ve never witnessed new paintings draw in so many people prior to the addition of the Obama portraits. Gallery volunteer Mary Francis Koerner says that visitors would typically ask to be directed to the portraits of the presidents but that question has changed over time. “Now it’s ‘Where are the Obamas?” she told the news outlet. “They have brought in so many people. After 4:30 there’s an uptick of the younger generation, and that’s who they come to see.”


While the Obama portraits are visually captivating, they hold deeper meaning beyond the surface. The couple selected two African-American artists to create the artwork; making them the first Black artists to receive presidential commissions. “Big museums like this are dedicated to what we as a society hold most dear,” Wiley said in a statement, according to the Denver Post. “Growing up as a kid in South Central Los Angeles, there weren’t too many people who looked like me on those walls. The ability to be the first African-American painter to paint the first African-American president of the United States — it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The National Portrait Gallery was created in 1962 and the tradition of adding portraits of outgoing presidents began in 1994.

Art classes improve students’ discipline, writing and compassion

art classes

Learning experiences in the arts go beyond learning how to draw straight lines or perform in a play. In fact, a new study has found that it brings a suite of other benefits, such as reducing disciplinary problems, improve writing skills and increasing compassion for others.

Studying 10,548 students enrolled in 42 schools across the US state of Houston, these researchers also found that arts-education experiences improve school engagement and college aspirations among students in elementary schools, who make up 86 percent of the sample. These experiences include exposure to theatre, dance, music and visual arts through on-campus performances, field trips, artists in residence and other programmes outside of school hours.

“Arts learning experiences benefit students in terms of social, emotional, and academic outcomes,” write researchers Dan Bowen of Texas A&M and Brian Kisida of the University of Missouri.

“We find that these increases in arts educational experiences significantly reduce the proportion of students receiving disciplinary infractions by 3.6 percentage points, improve STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) writing achievement by 0.13 of a standard deviation, and increase students’ compassion for others by 0.08 of a standard deviation,” said the report, released last Tuesday through the Houston Education Research Consortium.

Arts education has steadily declined in the US since the 1980s as education policies favour “more academic” pursuits. It’s a dip that’s affected African-American and Hispanic/Latinx students most, as well as students whose parents have less than a high school education, as well as household incomes at or below US$37,500.

“Since the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001), the emphasis on standardized testing in “core subjects” has coincided with notable declines in school-facilitated arts exposure,” the report notes.

But the new research provides scientifically-backed proof that dance, theatre or visual arts classes aren’t at odds with traditional measures of academic success. Instead, it is complimentary.

And it isn’t the first study to show this, either. The New York Times noted that involvement in arts classes among eighth graders led to higher test scores in science and writing, according to a 2012 analysis of longitudinal studies. High school students who earned art credits got higher overall GPAs, and have a higher likelihood of graduating and attending college.

A more recent study found that field trips to see theatre performances and museums increased levels of political tolerance among students, whereas those who took a trip to an art museum improved their critical thinking skills and may have experienced increased math and reading test scores.

Students with the least access to such experiences, especially those from poorer and rural locations, stand to gain the most from these.

“It appears that the less prior exposure to culturally enriching experiences students have, the larger the benefit of receiving a school tour of a museum,” wrote researchers Jay Greene, Brian Kisida and Daniel Bowen in one study.

“Disadvantaged students need their schools to take them on enriching field trips if they are likely to have these experiences at all.”

How African American Art and Culture Blossomed During the Harlem Renaissance

Harelem Renaissance

In the early 20th century, New York City’s Harlem neighborhood underwent a historic transformation. During what is now described as the Harlem Renaissance, the area thrived as a cultural hub for African Americans, culminating in unprecedented advancements in art, literature, and music.

Though this “golden age” lasted less than 20 years, its legacy has lived on for decades. Because of both its influence on the arts and its impact on modern black culture, the Harlem Renaissance remains one of America’s most important cultural movements.

The History of the Harlem Renaissance

While the movement emerged gradually, many historians mark its onset as 1918—two years after the start of the Great Migration. This phenomenon saw a mess exodus of over 6 million African Americans fleeing the segregated South to urbanized areas across the country. “Seeking political asylum within the borders of their own country” (Smithsonian Magazine), many of these individuals set off for New York City and settled in Harlem.

Harelm Renaissance
Jacob Lawrence, Panel 40 (“Great Numbers”) from the “Migration Series,” 1940-1941 (Photo: Ron Cogswell via FlickrPublic Domain)

“The Harlem section of Manhattan, which covers just three square miles, drew nearly 175,000 African Americans, giving the neighborhood the largest concentration of black people in the world,” the National Museum of African American History and Culture explains. “Harlem became a destination for African Americans of all backgrounds. From unskilled laborers to an educated middle-class, they shared common experiences of slavery, emancipation, and racial oppression, as well as a determination to forge a new identity as free people.”

In order to help achieve this shared objective, artistic African Americans from all over the country flocked to Harlem, where their creativity was fostered and their work was groundbreaking.

Cultural Achievements


Harelem Renaissance
Photograph of students in a free art class at the Harlem Community Art Center, 290 Lenox Avenue, New York City (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)

Fine artists flocked to Harlem during its rebirth. Most of these figures focused on painting, sculpting, and other means of artistically exploring the African American story. This approach culminated in a vast collection of historically significant works, from the powerful and poignant sculptures of female artist Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller to the modernist murals of the Jazz Age by Aaron Douglas.

harlem renaissance
Aaron Douglas, “Aspirations,” 1936 (Photo: Wiki Art Fair Use)

Like many artists practicing in Harlem, Douglas was a member of the Harlem Artists Guild. Established by sculptor Augusta Savage, multidisciplinary artist Charles Alston, and muralist Elba Lightfoot in 1935, the Harlem Artists Guild was an organization intended to advocate for the neighborhood’s African American artists.

Though the guild only lasted a few years (it ended in 1941), it achieved the goals laid out in its constitution: to encourage young talent, to foster a relationship between artists and the public, and to improve artists’ standards of living and opportunities. It also led to the establishment of the Harlem Community Art Center, an unprecedented space established through the Federal Art Project.


harlem renaissance
W. E. B. Du Bois, 1918 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)

Another discipline that thrived during the Harlem Renaissance was writing. During this time, people involved with the movement relied heavily on print media and poetry as means to spread the word.

One magazine that proved particularly popular was The Crisis, a quarterly publication published by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP). Intended to “show the danger of race prejudice, particularly as manifested today toward colored people,” The Crisis shared work by black writers. W.E.B. Du Bois (a prominent activist, sociologist, historian, and writer) was the editor of the magazine—which is still in circulation today—until he resigned in 1934.

harlem renaissance
First Issue of “The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races,” November 1910 (Photo: Wiki Art Fair Use)

In addition to magazines like The Crisis, poems provided a platform for activism and a means to reflect upon black history. At the center of this phenomenon was Langston Hughes, a poet who viewed writing as a way to “express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame.” Hughes was a pioneer of jazz poetry, which translates the distinctive sound of jazz into lyrical written works. Notable pieces by Hughes include “Dreams,” “The Weary Blues,” and “Words Like Freedom.”

harelm renaissance
A bronze plaque in New York City Stock Photos from Oleg Anisimov/Shutterstock



harlem renaissance
Stock Photos from Africa Studio/Shutterstock

The Harlem Renaissance emerged when the Jazz Age was in full swing. This period is characterized by the rising popularity and proliferation of jazz music—a genre characterized by expressive, syncopated rhythms and varying degrees of improvisation—among all sorts of American demographics. Like the ragtime and blues genres that inspired it, jazz was invented by black musicians, making it an intrinsic part of the Harlem Renaissance.

During this time, jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong rose to prominence, thanks in part to performances at Harlem’s Cotton Club. Though this venue was segregated (“only white patrons could enter the establishment while all the service and entertainment was provided by black entertainers,” explains Harlem World Magazine), it played a pivotal role in popularizing jazz and helped further the movement’s cause.

The Cotton Club closed following a race riot in 1935—an event that, along with the Great Depression, marked the end of the Harlem Renaissance.



harlem renaissance
A mosaic in Harlem (Photo: ShellyS via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Though Harlem’s golden age ended in the middle of the 1930s, its legacy remains strong today. In addition to the contributions made by its artists, writers, and musicians, the movement paved the way for future achievements. From modern artists like Jacob Lawrence to the iconic Apollo Theatre, the area has continued to shape even more important figures and sites over the course of the last century.

In 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke in the New York City neighborhood, which she praised as an important site for African American History. “There’s a reason why I wanted to bring you all to Harlem today,” she said, “and that is because this community is infused with the kind of energy and passion that is quintessentially American but that has also touched so many people around the world.”

She ended her speech by reading from the Langston Hughes poem, “Dreams.”