The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) has a new, in-person exhibit featuring work from renowned African American artists .
“Vision & Spirit: African American Art/Works from the Bank of America Collection” is on display at the Museum, 701 Arch St., through Feb. 19, 2023.
Created in partnership with the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Art & Culture, the exhibition highlights key aspects of the artists’ lives and the objects they created. It focuses on the strength and spirit of these talented individuals as creative forces whose work continues to shape our understanding of the world.
“We are delighted to present works spanning nearly 100 years by renowned artists of African descent through our partners with ‘Bank of America,” says Dejay B. Duckett, Vice President for Curatorial Services at AAMP. “This powerful and visually stunning exhibition will hopefully inspire our community and beyond.”
Duckett herself was inspired by the things she saw at AAMP. “It was in the mid 80s and I was about eight or nine when my parents took me to see an exhibit at the museum. I was instantly affected by it. I think it changed my life. It was part of my DNA and became part of my future.”
After she received her BA at Spelman College, Duckett went on to Seton Hall University to receive her MA in Museology/Museum Studies. and says since the 90s this has become her only world. She’s now been with the AAMP for nearly six years.
“In creating this particular exhibit, the goal was to have people see it and then leave the exhibit inspired by what they’ve seen,” Duckett explains. “There’s something here for everyone, and our hope is that something will be awakened in the visitors, and the ability to discover some of the most prolific and gifted artists of our time.”
Towards that end, Zindi Harley, Assistant Curator, holds a discussion group every third Thursday of the month at noon. Duckett says its purpose is to give visitors a chance to express their feelings about what they’ve seen, and for the staff to receive necessary feedback that might help them in the future.
“Vision & ‘Spirit” features a collection of nearly 100 paintings prints, drawing, photographs, and mixed media works by 48 artists from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They include Henry Clay Anderson, Chelle Bsrbor, Dawoud Bey, Janel Shabazz, and many, many more.
According to Jim Dever, President of Bank of America Philadelphia. “The African American Museum in Philadelphia provides access to important works of art in the community. As a company with employees and partners throughout the country and world , we are passionate about helping the arts thrive as well as having a positive impact on the economies an communities we serve.”
Duckett is in full agreement with that philosophy and says she’s had nothing but wonderful comments from visitors. ‘Sometimes, I wish I could be a fly on the wall just to hear some of the great things people have to say about these works.”
Duckett urges everyone to come see this exhibit before it’s gone. “These are works held in a private collection – pieces you’ve never seen before and may never see again. So it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.”