Show honours African-American artists

African American

A powerful collection of works by some of the leading African-American artists is on display at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.

The exhibit, called “Distinguish Visions, Timeless Traditions,” came about when Calvin Mims, art services coordinator for the council, discovered that a number of art collectors in town have works of some of the nation’s most important black artists. They allowed the Arts Council to borrow their pieces.

I have chosen to focus on the late Dr. John Biggers, whom I admire. I interviewed him several times. He visited here occasionally because his wife, Hazel, is a native of Fayetteville.

Dr. Biggers was born in Gastonia in 1924. His grandmother had been a slave. As a boy, he helped his mother, a laundress, by rising early to build fires under large black pots of water. As a teenager, he was up early to light furnaces at the high school he attended. He said this work influenced his paintings the rest of his life.

In 1993, Biggers showed his work at the Fayetteville Museum of Art. While here, he generously gave his time to talk to young art students from local colleges.

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