Latest News in Black Art features news updates and developments in the world of art and related culture

From left, Poet Claudia Rankine joined the Guggenheim board; Maria Rosario Jackson is President Biden’s nominee to head the National Endowment for the Arts. | Photos: Courtesy Blue Flower Arts; Courtesy Maria Rosario Jackson via NEA


Poet, playwright and essayist Claudia Rankine (above left) joined the board of trustees at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Rankine is the author of “Citizen: An American Lyric,” “Just Us: An American Conversation,” and “The White Card: A Play.” Only one other Black woman has ever served on the Guggenheim’s board, photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, from 1993-94. | New York Times

President Biden announced his nominees to chair the national endowment programs for the arts and humanities. Maria Rosario Jackson (above right) is his choice for National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). A professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA) at Arizona State University, she is a longstanding arts and humanities administrator whose experience includes state and federal appointments. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Jackson would be the first African American and Mexican American to head the NEA, according to Deadline. Biden has also nominated Shelly C. Lowe to chair the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). A citizen of the Navajo Nation, Lowe is executive director of the Harvard University Native American Program. She would become the first Native American to lead the NEH. | National Public Radio

The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) appointed Denise Pate director of Community Investments. She will oversee the agency’s grantmaking program, which distributes about $16 million annually to individual artists and nonprofit arts organizations. For more than 30 years, Pate has worked in nonprofit management. She joins SFAC from the City of Oakland where she is the cultural funding coordinator.


Arts patron and jazz impresario George Wein, who founded the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954, died Sept. 12. He was 95. The Rhode Island jazz festival became a model across genres for presenting live music in outdoor venues on a grand scale and made festivals “as important as nightclubs and concert halls on the itinerary of virtually every major jazz performer.” In 2006, Wein endowed an annual $50,000 artist prize at the Studio Museum in Harlem in the name of his late wife Joyce Alexander (1928–2005), a long-serving trustee at the museum. Recent recipients of the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize include Cauleen Smith (2020), Torkwase Dyson (2019), Diedrick Brackens (2018), and Simone Leigh (2017). | New York Times


DEREK FORDJOUR, “The Futility of Achievement (La futilidad de los logros),” 2020 (acrylic, charcoal, cardboard, oil pastel, foil and glitter on newspaper mounted on canvas). | Courtesy for the artist and Petzel, New York


Awards & Honors

New York artist Derek Fordjour will deliver the fall Lenhardt Lecture at the Phoenix Art Museum on Oct. 27 The Arizona museum recently added Fordjour’s mixed-media painting “The Futility of Achievement” (2020), above, to its collection. The first work acquired with funds from the newly expanded Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative, the painting is on view in Katz Wing for Modern Art.

Cherise Smith (left) received the annual Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). Smith is the first Black recipient of the prize. She was recognized for her book “Michael Ray Charles: A Retrospective” (University of Texas Press, 2020). Smith is the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also a professor African and African Diaspora Studies and art and art history. The juried prize includes a $3,000 award and Smith will present SAAM’s 33rd annual Eldredge Prize Lecture in April 2022.

IMAGE: Above left, Cherise Smith. | Courtesy Cherise Smith via Smithsonian

More News

Prospect Five New Orleans announced revised opening dates and a venue list for the triennial’s exhibitions and programming. Opening weekend is Oct. 23.

London gallery Tiwani Contemporary is opening a new space in Lagos, Nigeria, in February 2022. | ARTnews

A new historical marker honoring Philadelphia-born Alain Locke was installed in front of the African American Museum in Philadelphia. | WHYY Public Radio


A new mural by Nick Cave and Bob Faust wraps the building at 679 N. Michigan Ave, on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. | Photo by James Prinz

Public Art

“Rapt on The Mile” (above), a new mural by artists Nick Cave and Bob Faust, was installed at 679 N. Michigan Avenue. The mural wraps around the building and Features “iconic images and layered colors to create a three-dimensional garden, evocative of a fertile migratory hub.” Presented by The Magnificent Mile® Association with EXPO CHICAGO, the mural will be on view through Jan. 31, 2022. A limited-edition benefit print by Cave ($3,000) has been produced in association with the project to support the Facility Foundation.

The National Academy of Design announced seven recipients of the 2021 Abbey Mural Prize, awarding more than $125,000 for public mural projects across the nation. Recipients include Chicago Public Art Group for the restoration of “The History of the Packinghouse Worker” (1975), shown below, one of the last surviving exterior murals created by William “Bill” Walker (1927-2011).


Public mural on the South Side of Chicago: WILLIAM “BILL” WALKER, “The History of the Packinghouse Worker,” 1974. | Image Courtesy CPAG


The San Francisco Arts Commission is offering a series of grants directed toward individual artists, veteran arts leaders, support for arts spaces and operating expenses with fall deadlines at 12 p.m. PST: Artistic Legacy Grant (Oct. 19, 2021); Creative Space Grant, CSG (Oct. 27, 2021); Cultural Equity Initiatives, CEI (Nov. 3, 2021); San Francisco Artist Grant, SFA (Nov. 10, 2021). | More Info

Jiggy, the five-year old, female-founded puzzle company that features images by contemporary artists and illustrators, issued an open call for art. Six winners, chosen by a combination of public voting and jury selection, will have their artwork reproduced on a puzzle featured in the 2022 collection and earn a commission from Jiggy on sales of their licensed art. Submission deadline is Oct. 10, 2021. | More Info


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