Connecting People with Art – October Gallery Art Book -BlackStream Renaissance.








BlackStream Renaissance

Here is an excerpt from the October Gallery Art book “Connecting People with Art”
See if you agree or disagree with this:

Our national and international patrons and artists have witnessed firsthand the creation and development of the African-American art industry, which prior to the 1970s was almost nonexistent. This group of patrons and artists are part of what we call the BlackStream Renaissance.

The term “blackstream” was used by Black artists in the 1900s who were denied admission to the art mainstream. More recently, fine art appraiser Edward S. Spriggs of Atlanta, Georgia brought the term “blackstream” to our attention. Feeling there was a need to identify this important time of formative awareness of, belief in and commitment to African-American art, we coined the phrase BlackStream Renaissance.

We further define this growth period as being marked by a collective community conscientiousness that recognizes the creative, cultural and financial viability of African-American visual expression.

The interplay between artists, community members and available resources has created a fabric-like cohesion characterized by:
• Artists willing to create
• A community that can inspire its artists
• A community that accepts its own cultural
creations as having value
• Sufficient community resources to sustain the
exchange of value

The patrons and artists of the BlackStream Renaissance purchased and sold art, displayed it at home and at work and shared it with friends, family, co-workers and the general public. In short, they have made African-American art an indispensable part of their everyday lives. The African-American community is effectively supporting and building an art industry, perpetuated primarily by its own members.

Artists, galleries, museums and others in the art business realize that because of proper education, focused marketing and love of culture, African-Americans have shifted their habits and allocated to the visual arts a portion of the more than 750 billion dollars they spend each year. This group has invested precious time and valuable resources in African-American art and has thereby continued to give it value.

To be clear, the BlackStream Renaissance welcomes the mainstream but does not have to rely on it for content, aesthetic validation or financial continuance.

Educator and curator David C. Driskell said, “The boom in Black art has come about not in the market of galleries of the auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, but from ordinary Black people.”

Most African-American artists market and exhibit in the African-American community. Successful Black art festivals and expos, where artists sell and exhibit, recognize the importance of marketing to this special community. It is in this community where the strength and the value of African-American art begins. It is this community that has provided the foundation for the Blackstream Renaissance.

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