’30 Years of Black Art’ coming to Morris Museum in N.J.

In celebration of Art in the Atrium’s 30th anniversary, Art in the Atrium, Inc. (ATA) and the Morris Museum present the exhibition, For the Culture, By the Culture: 30 Years of Black Art, Activism, and Achievement. This exhibition brings together prior ATA featured artists in a group retrospective that spans 30 years and features established local and national Black artists. This exhibition will be on view May 20 through September 25, 2022, at the Morris Museum.

ATA is a non-profit arts organization located in Morris County, New Jersey, that showcases fine art by established and emerging African American artists. ATA’s annual Atrium Gallery show in Morristown became the largest exhibit of its kind in New Jersey. Their mission is to celebrate Black excellence, support the careers and lives of Black fine artists, and create opportunities for emerging voices in Black art. ATA’s impact and accomplishments over the past 30 years to increase the visibility of Black artistry is unparalleled. 

“Following on the success of last year’s partnership, Art in the Atrium is thrilled to once again exhibit at the prestigious Morris Museum, this time in celebration of our organization’s 30th anniversary,” Lauren LeBeaux Craig, ATA Executive Director. said. “For the Culture, By The Culture is the culmination of 30 years of love, dedication and hard work by our organization with the goal of uplifting the Black artist community, and ATA is grateful to the Morris Museum for their belief in our mission and unwavering support.”

Although ATA is not politically affiliated and never set out to be an activist organization, this exhibit honors ATA’s activism because Black art is inherently political. Over the years, some of their exhibited works have caused controversy, especially because ATA’s exhibits have mainly existed in a public building that houses courtrooms and County officials. This has not deterred the organization or its artists from creating authentic works and letting the personal expression speak truth to power.  

For the Culture, By the Culture will include ATA artists, masters of their craft, who have contributed to Black culture by creating impactful works for decades. Some have received national recognition like Bisa Butler, Jerry Gant, and Faith Ringgold. Many of the artists began their careers with ATA and through the organization, they received significant exposure that helped launch their artistic careers.  

Included in the For the Culture, By the Culture are 43 works by 19 artists. The selected artists are Alonzo Adams, Benny Andrews, Bisa Butler, Leroy Campbell, Elizabeth Catlett, Viki LeBeaux Clark Craig, James Denmark, David Driskell, Jerry Gant, Richard Haynes, Norman Lewis, Russell A. Murray, Rosalind Nzinga Nichol, Janet Taylor Pickett, Faith Ringgold, Joe Sam, Cedric Smith, William Tolliver, and Deborah Willis.  

About the Morris Museum 

Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum is an award-winning, multifaceted arts and cultural institution serving the public through its exhibitions and performances, which strive to interpret the past and discover the future through art, sound, and motion. The Museum is home to the historic and internationally-significant Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata. The Museum’s Bickford Theatre is a 312-seat performing-arts facility, offering unique programming in film, jazz, and live performance through its innovative series, Live Arts.

As New Jersey’s only Smithsonian Affiliate, Morris Museum launched Spark!Lab, a dynamic, Smithsonian-created learning space which will inspire young visitors to create, collaborate, and innovate.  

About Art in the Atrium 

Art in the Atrium, Inc. (ATA) is a non-profit, tax-exempt, Black-led arts organization that was founded in Morristown, New Jersey in 1991. Since its inception 30 years ago, ATA has annually exhibited four floors of African American fine art in the Atrium Gallery in Morristown, becoming the largest exhibit of its kind in the state.

With a mission to celebrate Black excellence, support the careers and lives of Black fine artists, and create opportunities for emerging voices in Black art, ATA has done that and more. Since its founding ATA has given over $30,000 in scholarships to promising BIPOC arts students and has spurred economic activity in the community by selling approximately $500,000 in fine art by rising and established Black artists at its annual and satellite art exhibits for corporate and government partners.

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