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Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Niagara Falls Art Exhibit Showcases Black Artists From Western New York

Niagara Falls Black Artist Exhibit

Nationwide — The Niagara Arts & Cultural Center is hosting its annual “Artist of Color,” opening on February 10-March 25, 2023. This year, African American Contemporary Artists will merge with the historical legacies of African-Americans born and raised in Niagara Falls before the 1920s. The art illuminates what settles a community, town, city, and state when everyone moves forward. Historical photos, artifacts, and rare documents will be exhibited.

Ray Robertson has been Gallery Co-Director for 17 years and has curated the Artists of Color Exhibition for 12 years. He has contributed a wealth of knowledge to the arts for the local community and Western New York. As a professional photographer, sculptor and artist, he’s produced his
collection of artwork for over 40 years.

The Black Pioneers of Niagara Falls hosted the opening reception on February 10th. Families founded the organization with ancestors who migrated to Niagara Falls from all over the country and Canada before the 1920s. The Honorable Congressman Edolphus Towns (retired) served for over 40 years and two years as Chairman of the Oversight Committee. As a former resident raised in Niagara Falls, he spoke about his journey to the DC Capital and the influence of African American culture in Niagara Falls. Janice Martin, daughter of Indiana Hunt-Martin, spoke in honor of her mother, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor and was raised in Niagara Falls.

During WWII, Hunt-Martin was one of the historical legends of the 6888th who was sent to process over 17 million pieces of mail for U.S. troops. This event inspired the upcoming Netflix movie, Six Triple Eight, produced by Tyler Perry. In Buffalo, NY, a post office and a street have been named in Hunt-Martin’s honor. Misty Hunt-Garrett will speak in recognition of her mother, the late Crystal Boling-Barton, a historical collector and educator born and raised in Niagara Falls.

With her passing, Boling-Barton left one of the largest collections in Western New York of African American books, art, artifacts, and rare documents. At 35 years old, she was the first woman and African American educator to head a vocational high school (McKinley High) in the history of Buffalo, NY. The dedication of Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY, will be named in her honor.

Finally, Historian Dr. Michael Boston author of Blacks in Niagara Falls and Professor at SUNY-Brockport, will share his research on the black community of Niagara Falls, which he has been researching for many years. The New York State Council on the Arts makes the AOC exhibition possible.

Learn more at https://www.wgrz.com/article/news/local/black-history-month-niagara-falls-art-exhibit-showcases-black-artists-in-western-new-york/71-78ad39b9-9815-432b-836d-704efd9415e2

For press inquiries, contact Kelly Buckley at (716) 359-5098 or Kelly@nacc.org or contact Desiree Watson at bwell2113@gmail.com

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