The large exhibition space was already full of well-heeled New Yorkers when I arrived, just fifteen minutes after the opening of the Art of Giving Back event, for the UNCF, at the School of Visual Arts Gallery, on West 26th Street. Dressed in the looks of the moment, the crowd peered at an array of artworks that spanned time, taste and style. The list of contributing artists, curated by Natalie Jones, read like a Who's Who in the African American panoply of creative visual arts. Legends like Romare Bearden, Richard Mayhew, Lois Maillou Jones, Norman Lewis and Faith Ringold shared space with emergent Ramona Candy, Paul Goodnight, Leroy Henderson, Philemona Williamson and Glenn Tunstull.
The benefit's goal of raising money to support the multitude of national programs the United Negro College Fund has in place, assisting African American student achievement, was a worthy one pursued by many that night. The crowd was filled with some that I recognized and some who remained incognito. A number of my collectors were there lending me great support, well wishes and hope.
The inclusion in the exhibition represented a long held dream of being included within the ranks of such noted artists as listed above. I met a few of the mentioned artists as indicated in photos below. As my works filled a large wall in the main room they seemed complementary in this stellar lineup.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
As I escaped along the FDR Drive, through the crush of New York's noisy and congested traffic, the highway eventually gave way to the open country roads, with the first drifts of falling leaves, floating about like the soft shimmer of a dancer's gown on a breezy afternoon. Playing repeatedly on the stereo was the wafting rhythms of string and woodwind instruments and the lilting voice of Diana Krall in her version of "Dancing in the Dark".
The sounds had placed me in a peaceful mood, as I relaxed into the two hour drive that seemed to be condensed in time through the musical wave I found myself on. The sultry lyrics spoke of seduction and survival, the inescapable twins of existence, that fortified my spirit as I edged closer to home and Joe, who awaited me there.
As I left the pressure of the city for the fresh air and open spaces of nature, I still carried the responsibilities of the week. At times the only way to confront the challenges we face is to dance into them...in the rhythm that suits us best. As Diana sings in the song, "We can face the music...twooo...getherrrrr."
Dancing in the dark, of unknown futures, we move forward...on the breeze of steps we have taken, with hopes and wishes wrapped in the music of our lives...facing movements and moments that explain "why we're here." The time melted away on my drive home, just as easily as the years have grown, and in that moment, floating softly on the warm emotions of the notes in the song, I knew I could go on dancing in the dark...