Prior to our 2010 hiatus, the National Black Fine Art Show (NBFAS) had found a new home in the heart of Manhattan across from the Empire State Building, 7 West 34th Street. This 13-year old show has been unique in the world of traditional art fairs. We are a Show that is dedicated to the exclusive presentation of ORIGINAL art produced by artists of African and African American descent. If you are in the market for poster art, then this show is NOT for you. If you are in the market for ORIGINAL art at affordable prices or a serious collector looking to add to a serious collection, this IS the show for you. The Show strives to entertain, educate and share this important thread in the fabric of America. We believe that keeping ‘The Bar’ high, and raising it each year is our duty to the art itself. We are always in search of galleries and dealers representing the next generation of talented Black artists, as well as exposing our patrons to exciting pieces from the masters. Purchasing art from the NBFAS enables the opportunity to see your artwork grow in value, as the reputations of these artists grow. We have seen this happen over and over again in the past ten years.
It All Began in 1997
It is a rare and wonderful gift to have a dream come to fruition. In 1997, after several years of nurturing and garnering support for his vision, Josh Wainwright, launched the first annual National Black Fine Art Show. We are privileged and blessed to see that dream embraced by so many people. Our lives, and the lives of our patrons, have been enriched beyond measure with the association with the Show. So much beauty and power have been shared with us all. Our artists have chronicled our lives and experience in ways that other mediums cannot convey. The intent is not only to showcase the work to the African American community, but also, to awaken the broader American community to the richness, vitality and vision of the Black fine art movements. This historic, bold and pioneering venture proved to be in resonance with the public. The numbers that attended that first event in 1997 evidenced the need and appetite for such a show. The primarily African American audience was drawn from all segments of the population and included celebrities like S. Epatha Merkerson and Jesse L. Martin (of NBC's Law & Order), Spike Lee, Ed Bradley, Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, Tyra Banks, Russell Simmons, Angela Bassett and Warren Beatty.
From its origins of being primarily an African American event, infusing racial pride, the NBFAS has gained acceptance among art collectors of all ethnicities. The Show, today, is the largest single gathering of the vast spectrum of original Black fine art and artists, and has become the most important event in the marketing of such art. This is the only serious art show of its kind regularly reviewed by The New York Times.
Broadest Selection of African American Art
The National Black Fine Art Show is the only venue where collectors, students, and curators can view and buy from the full gamut of original Black art in a single venue. This Show attracts leading galleries and dealers in both the primary and secondary markets from across the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. It provides a rare opportunity to view and purchase works by such early African American masters as Edward Bannister, Robert Duncanson, Henry Tanner; Harlem renaissance masters like Aaron Douglas, Palmer Hayden, Ellis Wilson, Charles Alston, Hale Woodruff, and William Johnson; modern masters such as Romare Bearden, Eldzier Cortor, Benny Andrews, and Elizabeth Catlett; young giants like, Danny Simmons, Cheryl Warrick, Francks Deceus, Carrie Mae Weems and Frank Morrison. The Show provides immense diversity in terms of age, accomplishments, media, content, stylistic and cultural influences, and range from the self-taught to the classically trained.
Great Art, Great Values
While the value of works by African American fine artists have escalated over the past decade, it is widely accepted in the art community that the works of Black artists offer some of the best bargains in today’s art market. Even 18th century Black masterworks, while pricey for some collectors, are still grossly undervalued when compared with their non-Black contemporaries. However, with growing interest stimulated by the NBFAS and a burgeoning secondary market, the potential for appreciation in value is enormous. The show has even become a source for secondary market dealers to purchase work for resale at a profit. The large numbers of emerging artists exhibited in the show, many of whom have begun to garner critical acclaim, offer works that provide significant value.
Practical and Academic Educational Series
The National Black Fine Art Show has from the outset, placed emphasis on public education. From its inception, an educational series has been an integral part of the show. Drawing on gallery owners, art historians, museum curators and artists, the Educational Series provides practical advice as well as an academic foundation for attendees. These guided walking tours and lectures, along with art books, visits to museums and galleries, and networking with collectors are great ways of gathering information necessary for becoming a discriminating collector. The NBFAS believes that increasing the knowledge of its attendees will help to avoid having collectors make unwise purchases and being exploited by unscrupulous sellers.
Facilitating the Work of Artists, Supporting Community Organizations
One of the main objectives of the show is to ensure the ability of Black fine artists to pursue their craft, and to preserve the rich legacy of Black fine art. By offering the artists marketing and networking opportunities, they can afford to advance their education, acquire materials and tools, and enjoy a living that enables them to freely pursue their creative impulse, and by networking, view the works of, and be influenced by, each other. The influence of the Show in these areas can be seen in the progressive improvement in the quality of work seen at each successive show. Supporting community organizations and causes has been another important aspect of the National Black Fine Art Show. The Charity Preview Night, has, since 1997, been a fund-raiser for a designated charity/community organization — from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the UNCF, The Jack & Jill of America Foundation, The New York Urban League, and The Shomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Embracing Cultural Diversity
While the NBFAS showcases African American art, it has earned the reputation as a vehicle for fostering diversity. This exhibit is offered to collectors, curators, museum directors, students and art lovers of all ethnicities.
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