African American Art to be featured in county building


Special to the Daily Record 9:50 a.m. EST January 22, 2016

Morris Arts and Art in the Atrium are sponsoring an exhibition of African American art that will be featured in the Morris County Administration & Records Building.


A free opening reception will be held on Jan. 29 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Atrium Gallery, which is floors 2-5 of the Morris County Administration & Records Building, 10 Court St. The reception will include music, food and an opportunity to meet the artists, according to a press release from Morris Arts.


Running through March 16, the exhibit is entitled Visual Griot highlights the work of Plainfield artist Alonzo Adams, as well as works by nearly 30 other African American artists including Lavette Ballard, Bisa Butler, Leroy Campbell, Howard Cash, Stephen B. Ellis, Leslie Floyd, April Harrison, Janice Jamison, Julio Mejia, Maceo Mitchell, Janet Taylor Pickett, Ellaree Pray; Deborah Shedrick, Sandra P. Smith, and Cephalus Stubbs.


Born in 1961 in Harlem and raised in Plainfield, Alonzo Adams’ passion for art was nurtured from the streets of Plainfield to the country roads of North Carolina and enriched by trips to France and Spain, the release said.


With more than 25 years as a professional award-winning artist, Adams hold a BFA from Rutgers, an MFA from University of Pennsylvania and had additional training at the Ducret School of the Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.


One of the first African American artists to become an Absolut Artist, Adams was featured in the Black Romance exhibit at the Studio Museum of Harlem and three of his original oils were auctioned at Sotheby’s.


He was also one of the first inductees into the Rutgers African American Alumnae Association Hall of Fame. His work is in various museum and private collections including that of Maya Angelou.


Art in the Atrium’s annual exhibition is the largest of its kind in the state.


“It really helps to expand people’s idea of what African-American art can be,’’ says Craig. “We have works in all mediums and genres. It’s not just figurative paintings with a mask in them.’’


The non-profit organization, Art in the Atrium, began in 1992 after Victoria Craig’s husband, attorney Charles Craig, noticed that no art works exhibited in the Morristown administration building were by African-American artists.


Dedicated to exhibiting works by emerging and established black artists, Art in the Atrium is a nonprofit volunteer organization whose annual exhibit at the Atrium Gallery is now the largest of its kind in New Jersey, growing from a single floor to currently occupying 4 full floors of the County Administration & Records Building.


Art in the Atrium has also expanded to include seminars, jazz brunches, collectors’ workshops and cosponsored artist residencies in the Morris School District. It also awards an annual scholarship to a student artist, whose work is often exhibited in the show. For more information, visit