There are a handful of people who have devoted their careers to the preservation and celebration of African American art history. One of the greatest championing voices behind this work is Susan Stedman, guest curator of “Creating Community: Cinque Gallery Artists” at the Arts Students League of New York.
As the art world’s interest in Black artists and Black Art Movements grew, Stedman noticed that there was little research being done on the Cinque Gallery, an artist-run collective that was instrumental in creating mentorship and visibility for Black artists from 1969 through 2004. To fill this gap, she partnered with the Art Students League, the Romare Bearden Foundation, Nanette Carter, and Jewel Ham to develop the inaugural survey of the Cinque Gallery.
Founded by Ernest Crichlow, Norman Lewis, and Romare Bearden, Cinque Gallery was created to “provide a place where the works of unknown, and neglected artists of talent…would not only be shown but nurtured and developed.” Over the course of it’s 35 years, Cinque Gallery presented artwork by approximately 450 artists, including the likes of Benny Andrews, Emma Amos, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Bill Hutson, Norma Morgan, and Debra Priestly.
We are privileged to have loaned eight pieces to this exhibition and to have joined Susan’s intimate exhibition conversation with artists and colleagues about Cinque’s impact, as well as the urgency for continued research and preservation of African American art history within the discourse of American Art.
“Creating Community: Cinque Gallery Artists” will be available for viewing at the Art Students League of New York through July 3rd.
For more information about this exhibition, visit the Art Students League website: https://theartstudentsleague.org/event/cinque-gallery-2021/
Additional Articles about the Exhibition:
- “Another Chapter of Black Art History” by John Yau for Hyperallergic
- “50 Years Ago, Romare Bearden and His Colleagues Founded a New York Gallery for Artists of Color. A New Show Celebrates Its Legacy” by Sarah Cascone for Artnet