Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks at the Delaware Art Museum (DelArt) honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition that history once ignored. Comprising over 100 works of art from both nationally-known and regionally-celebrated artists, Afro-American Images 1971 represented the creation of a space for Black artists who were largely excluded from major artistic institutions.

The re-staging of Afro-American Images 1971 was made possible by a multi-year collaboration between the Delaware Art Museum and members of its community, signifying a crucial moment in the museum’s ongoing process of forming an inclusive artistic hub for the city of Wilmington, Delaware. The exhibition is co-presented by the artist collective Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. and guided by a robust advisory committee of humanities scholars and community leaders.

This fall’s exhibition continues a series of major projects dedicated to researching and documenting Wilmington’s rich but largely under-documented historic contemporary art scene, led by DelArt’s Contemporary Art Curator Margaret Winslow. In 2015, the museum presented Dream Streets: Art in Wilmington, 1970–1990. In 2018, the Museum led a citywide effort to mark the 1968 uprisings and subsequent national guard occupation in Wilmington, commissioning Hank Willis Thomas’s contemporary artistic response Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot. For a future exhibition, Winslow is now researching the Delaware art funded by the Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), as the Museum’s commitment to honoring its city’s artistic legacy continues.

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