5 African American Artists You May Not Know

Categories: Diversity & Inclusion, Black History Month

As we explore “African Americans and the Arts,” we are excited to celebrate the vibrancy of artistic expression of past, present, and future within the African American community and recognize the pivotal role these artists have played in shaping the cultural narrative of our world.

While countless artists are well-known worldwide, we often forget about the folks who paved the way. Here are five African American artists you may not know about who made a significant impact in their artistic field:

  1. Augusta Savage’s Legacy: Augusta Savage was a renowned sculptor during the Harlem Renaissance. She faced racial and gender discrimination but still made significant contributions to the art world. One of her notable works is “The Harp”, which symbolizes the contributions of African Americans to music and culture.
Augusta Savages Legacy
  1. Gordon Parks- Renaissance Man: Gordon Parks was a multi-talented artist known for his work as a photographer, filmmaker, writer, and composer. He was the first African American to work for Life magazine as a staff photographer and is celebrated for his documentary and fashion photography, as well as his contribution to film.
  1. Dance Pioneer Alvin Ailey: Alvin Ailey was a groundbreaking choreographer and dancer who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958. His dance company played a pivotal role in popularizing modern dance, and his signature piece, “Revelations,” is one of the most-watched modern dance performances in the world.
  1. Romare Bearden’s Collages: Romare Bearden was a prominent African American artist, best known for his collage work. These collages often tell the story of African American life and culture, exploring themes of family, music, and spirituality. His style and themes were influential during the Civil Rights Movement.
Romare Beardens Collages
  1. Ava DuVernay’s Filmmaking Achievements: Ava DuVernay is a trailblazing filmmaker who has broken barriers for African American directors. She gained widespread recognition for her film “Selma, which covers Martin Luther King Jr. Her films have continued to pay homage to Black History, and the film industry, both as a director and as a champion of diversity and inclusion.