Artists Antoine Williams, William Paul Thomas and Darius Frank might not be recognizable names to many in the Greenwood area, but Arts Center of Greenwood program/gallery director Jennifer Smith has set out to change that.
"A New Face: Contemporary African American Art," the Arts Center's Black History Month Exhibit, showcases the works of the three emerging Southeastern black artists who are new faces to the Greenwood community. Williams is from Durham, N.C., Thomas is from Chapel Hill, N.C., and Frank is from Suitland, Maryland.
"I like it. I think it's a very cool, mixed up show," Smith said. "It's interesting and very colorful as well."
Smith said she puts a lot of thought into the exhibits.
"With considering the content of the works, I wanted to create a focus on contemporary culture and to highlight some 'new faces' such as young, emergent artists who are actively creating art and exploring living themes that are helping to broaden their audience and their own perspectives of being," Smith said. "I think audiences might find many of the portrait works, in particular, to be very relatable."
This is the ninth Black History Month celebration at the Arts Center. Smith said she's constantly asked about the upcoming Black History Month shows.
"Each year, we receive reviews of the positive experience this annual exhibition brings for the African-American community within Greenwood; so as a community-based gallery, this exhibition helps us meet the mission of continuing to serve that populace," Smith said.
The word "face " was important to be in the title of the show, Smith said.
"I think the title sort of translates a number of things we could point to with this exhibition," she said. "It was meant to sort of make reference to the old saying, 'A New Face in Town ?' since the majority of the featured artists are from out-of-state, unknown by the Greenwood community and have never shown in our gallery. But I like the fact that the word 'face' is present because the bulk of the exhibition consists of arbitrary portrait works."
The portrait-dominated, 35-piece exhibit runs through Feb. 28.
There is a reception 5-7 p.m. Feb. 20. At 4 p.m., there is a gallery talk with Williams and Thomas. The events are free and at the Arts Center. The exhibit and reception is sponsored by Eaton Corp.
To find the artists, Smith simply did research, and found Thomas first.
"Our culture, to me, is very mixed," Smith said, referring to what she wanted to highlight in the show.
Thomas does a lot of portraits using diverse group of people and works mostly in oil on canvas.
"First of all, he's a really talented painter. He's very talented. Secondly, I liked how he didn't have a centralized focus," Smith said, noting Thomas' works represent the mixed culture we live in today.
Smith then worked from a list to find a second artist for the show.