Hezekiah Baker (American, 1940–2007) Backwater Under Pink Clouds, c. 2000 oil on Upson board. Collection of Dr. Marilyn Chandler Ford, Promised gift to the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University

This February, the Castellani Art Museum will present an array of enriching programs in honor of Black History Month. These events are dedicated to highlighting the artistic contributions of African-American artists and exploring the experiences of the BIPOC community in the art world.

On Feb. 3, from 1–2 p.m., the museum will host "The Highwaymen: Black Artists of the Florida Coast," a public tour led by Michael Beam, curator of exhibitions and special projects. This event offers a deep dive into the captivating world of the Highwaymen, a group of African-American artists renowned for their vibrant depictions of Florida's coastal landscapes during the mid-20th century. Despite facing significant racial barriers, these self-taught artists found creative ways to share their unique vision. The exhibition, a first in Western New York, features 21 paintings by the original Highwaymen and their descendants, celebrating their enduring artistic legacy.

Visitors can also visit "The Highwaymen: Black Artists of the Florida Coast" exhibition on their own during CAM’s open hours now through April 28, 2024. Exclusive Highwaymen merchandise, which includes colorful art prints and postcards, will be  20% off during the month of February.

Another highlight of the month is the Currents | BIPOC Perspectives: Cultural Representation Roundtable, scheduled for Feb. 29, 2024, from 5:30–7:30 p.m.. This engaging discussion will feature a diverse panel of local BIPOC artists and museum professionals, including Terry Alford, executive director of the Michigan Street Heritage Corridor; Tiffany Gaines, curatorial & digital content associate at the Burchfield Penney Art Center; and visual artists Bree Gilliam and Muhammad Z. Zamant. The roundtable will delve into the historical obstacles faced by BIPOC artists, the inspiring stories of local artists' resilience, insights from museum professionals on promoting diversity in arts organizations, and the importance of recognizing intersectionality in the art world.

These events are part of the museum's commitment to showcasing the vibrant work of Black artists, who have historically been underrepresented in the art world. In addition to our programs, explore artworks on view by BIPOC artists in our collection including Faith Ringgold, Basquiat, William Cooper and Sam Gilliam. The Castellani Art Museum invites the community to participate in these programs, which promise to enrich our understanding and appreciation of diverse artistic narratives.

For more details on these exciting programs and to register for these enriching events, we invite you to visit our website at www.castellaniartmuseum.org. Simply navigate to the “Upcoming Programs” tab where you can find more information and secure your place in these not-to-be-missed Black History Month celebrations.