Explore

50 In 50: Where To View Black And African Art Across The Country

By Kelsey Marie

Share

Art is important because it documents time, history, people, and places through the eye of the artists. Black and African art has been hidden from us for years but it is now finally being put to the forefront. Artists from the diaspora are getting recognition for their contributions to the art world now more than ever before.

If you’re curious about finding Black or African art in the U.S., we’ve rounded up 50!

Alabama

Birmingham Museum of Art

Located in Birmingham, the museum of art has an entire collection of African art.

Arkansas

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

Located in Little Rock, Mosaic Templars is a museum of African American history. The museum has permanent and changing exhibits. For example, the exhibit entitled “Creativity Arkansas” features works from black artists with roots in Arkansas.


Arizona

Heard Museum of Anthropology and Primitive Art

The Heard Museum is located in Phoenix and focuses on preserving American Indian art. The museum also has African art in its collection such as African masks.

California

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology

This Berkley museum has an African collection formed by two African scholars: anthropologist William Buscorn (1957 – 1979) and archaeologist J. Desmond Clark (1961 – 1986).

Colorado

Denver Art Museum

The African art collection in Denver consists of about 1,000 objects. There is art ranging from older works to contemporary pieces.

Connecticut

Yale University Art Gallery

View this post on Instagram

Painter Kerry James Marshall and sculptor Hiram Powers were born 150 years apart, but their works cut across time, space, and mediums to challenge us to think about the purpose of art and its entanglements with social and political justice. 1. Marshall’s paintings focus on Black figures that have been historically excluded from the art canon, and also explore the themes of Black history and identity. As a painter, he is heavily influenced by his birth in Birmingham, Alabama and his upbringing in South Central Los Angeles near the Black Panthers headquarters. The first painting, “Untitled,” 2009, shows a Black woman painting. She has a scowl on her face reminiscent of those found in Rembrandt portraits, challenging viewers to meet her gaze and to immerse themselves into the artwork. On her thumbnail are the shades of red, green, and black — a subtle homage to the Pan-African flag, which represents the call for global African solidarity. 2. Powers once proclaimed: “There should be a moral in every work of art.” His sculpture, “The Greek Slave,” 1850, contains within it a commentary on the unjust consequences of war. The sculpture depicts a Greek slave woman who is being sold by Turkish captors. Though this sculpture (and the other five that Powers made) was well-received, there was controversy over the figure’s nudity. Powers responded by claiming that she is clothed in her moral and religious strength, as evidence by the cross on her hip. “The Greek Slave” became an important abolitionist symbol in America.

A post shared by Yale University Art Gallery (@yaleartgallery) on

The African art collection at Yale has almost 2,000 objects spanning 3,000 years of African history. Their highlight pieces are masks and ritual pieces from West and Central Africa.

Delaware

Delaware Art Museum

Visit this museum between October 19 and January 26, 2020, for the exhibit Posing Beauty In African American Culture. The exhibit is curated by Deborah Willis, Ph.D., and “explores the contested ways in which African and African American beauty have been represented in historical and contemporary contexts through a diverse range of media including photography, film, video, fashion, advertising, and other forms of popular culture such as music and the internet.”

Florida

Lowe Art Museum

This art museum in Miami has an Art of Africa collection as well as an Art of the Caribbean collection.

Georgia

Michael C. Carlos Museum

Located in Atlanta, this museum has one of the most extensive collections in the region. Here you can find artwork from ancient Egypt and the African diaspora.

Hawaii

Honolulu Museum of Art

Visit the Doris Duke Theater at this museum for films of African art and artists. For example, there was a screening of Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba earlier this year.

Idaho

Idaho Black History Museum

Visit this museum in Boise, Idaho, located in the historic St. Paul Baptist Church building. The purpose of the museum is to “build bridges between cultures to explore issues that affect Americans of all cultures and ethnicities.”

Illinois

The DuSable Museum of African American History

Located in Chicago, the DuSable Museum’s mission is to “promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions, and experiences of African Americans through exhibits, programs and activities that illustrate African and African American history, culture, and art.”

Indiana

Mathers Museum of World Cultures

Mathers Museum of World Cultures is located on the Indiana University Bloomington campus. The museum houses almost 5,000 pieces from all regions of the African continent.

Iowa

Stanley Museum of Art at the University of Iowa

Visit this museum for a view of sculptures, textiles, masks, ceramics, beadwork, and metalwork by African artists.

Kansas

Martin & Osa Johnson Safari Museum

Visit the Imperato West African Gallery to view West African sculptures and figurines.

Kentucky

E & S Art Gallery, Inc.

E & S Gallery was established in 1989 in Louisville, Kentucky. According to their bio, they are “one of the oldest, largest, most reputable African American fine art galleries in the world.”

Louisiana

La Belle Galeries and Black Art Collection

This gallery is located in the French Quarter of New Orleans and focuses on art that reflects on the African American experience.

Maine

Indigo Arts Alliance

The purpose of Indigo Arts Alliance is to “cultivate the artistic development of people of African descent.” There are always events featuring resident artists discussing their work.

Maryland

The African Art Museum of Maryland

This museum is the first of its kind in the Maple Lawn neighborhood of Fulton, Maryland. The museum’s mission statement is to “serve the public, the African Art Museum of Maryland, through an exploration of the art of Africa to encourage a broader understanding and awareness of the diverse cultures and artistic expressions of the people of the African continent.”

Massachusetts

The Cooper Gallery

This Cambridge, Massachusetts gallery opened in 2014 and “features contemporary and historical exhibitions and installations of African and African American art.”

Michigan

Black Arts and Cultural Center

View this post on Instagram

blackartskalamazoo.org/shop

A post shared by Black Arts & Cultural Center (@blackartskzoo) on

The Black Arts and Cultural Center is located in Kalamazoo and “showcases the artwork of different local, regional, national, and international artists each month in the Gail Sydnor Gallery.”

Minnesota

Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery

This nonprofit organization was founded in Minneapolis in 2018. The purpose of the museum is to “preserve, record, and highlight the achievements, contributions, and experiences of African Americans in Minnesota.”

Missouri

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

This museum is located in Kansas City and has an African art collection with 366 works.

Mississippi

Mississippi Museum of Art

If you’re in Jackson, Mississippi between October 10 through January 5, 2020, head to this museum for The Prize: Seven Decades of Lyrical Response to the Call for Civil Rights exhibit.

Montana

African Oasis: The Safari Experience

This store has African art with items for sale such as bags, leather goods, wooden curios, tableware…etc. African Oasis is located in Dillon, Montana.

Nebraska

Midwestern African Museum of Art, Culture & Resource Center

The mission of MAMA is “to share the hidden beauty and rich history of Africa’s art and culture.” Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, MAMA aims to “promote awareness, an understanding, and appreciation of African immigrants within the Midwestern population.”

New Hampshire

Hood Museum of Art

Hood Museum of Art is located on the campus of Dartmouth. Their African art collection contains almost 2,000 objects from all regions of the African continent.

New Jersey

African Art Museum at Society of African Missions

Located in Tenafly, New Jersey, this museum is one of only a few museums in the U.S. dedicated to the arts of Africa.

New Mexico

Casanova Art Gallery

Nestled in the heart of Santa Fe, Casanova Art Gallery has African tribal art. There are items such as beaded dolls from Cameroon, beaded animals from South Africa and wood colonial figures from the Ivory Coast.

Nevada

Left of Center Art Gallery

This nonprofit gallery has a permanent collection of African art. The Museum of African Art in Left of Center Art Gallery is located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

New York

The Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is always highlighting black artists. Head there from now until October 13 to see One by Titus Kaphar.

North Carolina

North Carolina Museum of Art

The African Collection reinstallation at the North Carolina Museum of Art was opened in June 2017. This new, expanded African art gallery has African art spanning 16 centuries. The museum is located in Raleigh, North Carolina.

North Dakota

North Dakota Museum of Art

The permanent collection at this museum houses African art such as African ceramics.

Ohio

Cincinnati Art Museum

The African art collection has been in existence at Cincinnati Art Museum since 1889 The museum has been collecting African art for over a century and continues to expand its collection.

Oklahoma

OSU Museum of Art

The OSU Museum of Art at Oklahoma State University has direct connections with Ethiopia and showcases Ethiopian art.

Oregon

Portland Art Museum

There is a permanent African art collection at Portland Art Museum featuring paintings and sculptures from the African continent.

Pennsylvania

Art Sanctuary

Located in North Philadelphia, Art Sanctuary was “founded with the purpose of using the power of black art to transform individuals, unite groups of people, and enrich, and draw inspiration from the inner city.”

Rhode Island

Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

If you’re in Rhode Island, head to Providence for a bit of African art. Visit the Hay Library for a view of African Customary Currencies.

South Carolina

Gallery Chuma

Gallery Chuma is located in Charleston, South Carolina and has artwork of the Gullah people. The gallery is a great way to learn about the Gullah people of coastal South Carolina through art, crafts, storytelling, and books.

South Dakota

South Dakota African American History Museum

This museum is located in Sioux Falls and houses works showing the importance of African Americans in South Dakota.

Tennessee

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Head to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and check out the Arts of Global Africa exhibit until June 21, 2021.

Texas

African American Museum of Dallas

The museum was founded in 1974 and has been operating independently since 1979. Visit to view folklore African art.

Utah

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts

View this post on Instagram

This International Women’s Month we’re highlighting some of the female or female-identifying artists currently on view at the UMFA, starting with the multi-talented artist, teacher and writer, Faith Ringgold.⠀ .⠀ Faith Ringgold creates work that makes explicit the struggles and realities black Americans face every day using mediums as various as painting, mixed-media sculpture and quilting. The UMFA is proud to have “Soul Sister” form her “Black Light” series on view now. In her “Black Light” paintings Ringgold pioneered new techniques in representing dark skin outside of the European standards and techniques she was trained in. In her memoir “We Flew Over the Bridge” Ringgold recalls how she perfected a color pallet almost entirely devoid of the color white, “Against a white background the color differences between red/black, blue/black, and brown/black, and so on are indistinguishable — all the blacks look alike. I began to realize that such dark colors must be placed next to other equally dark colors in order to see their true surface quality, color value, and depth of contrast.” ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ Faith Ringgold (American b. 1930), Soul Sister,1967, oil on canvas, Purchased with funds from The Phyllis Cannon Wattis Endowment Fund, UMFA2017.2.1⠀ .⠀ .⠀ Faith Ringgold in her studio,1969, from artnews.com, March 2016, courtesy Faith Ringgold and ACA Galleries.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #umfa #faithringgold #womensmonth #internationalwomensmonth #faministart #blackartists #modernart #1960s #womeninart #oiloncanvas #uofu

A post shared by UMFA (@utahmuseumoffinearts) on

Arts of Africa is an exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. There are about fifty textiles and 3-d works spanning twenty-one African cultures.

Virginia

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

African American Dreams is an exhibit at Virginia Musem of Fine Arts catered to grades 3 – 12. The exhibit is an “art-based adventure” exploring African Americans in North America through visual sources.

African American Art at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

This museum acquired its first work by African American artists in 1944. In 2015, the museum made a conscious effort to deepen its amount of African, African American, and African Diasporic art.

Vermont

Vermont International Festival

Head to Burlington, Vermont between December 6 – 8 for the Vermont International Festival. Amy’s African Arts & Crafts will be there showcasing work from Senegal.

Washington

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum has a wide array of African Art. Learn history through the many paintings, sculptures, and photography from the diaspora.

West Virginia

West Virginia Center for African-American Art & Culture

Charleston, West Virginia is the home of this nonprofit whose purpose is to provide “an enhanced cultural learning experience for all visitors.” The center features art that impacts African-Americans in West Virginia.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Black Historian Society

Wisconsin Black Historical Society aims to preserve the history of African Americans in Wisconsin. There are exhibits at the society showcasing black art in Wisconsin.

Washington, D.C.

National Museum of African Art

This museum is dedicated only to African art. Check out its exhibition: Pioneering Women Photographers in Africa, 1930s – 1970s for a look at the world through women photographers in Africa. On September 28 from 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., will be an African Heritage Day celebration including a book discussion and cultural presentations.

Share
Travel Noire

Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Nigerian-American Artist Kehinde Wiley Unveils New Sculpture in New York’s Times Square

Nigerian-American Artist Kehinde Wiley Unveils New Sculpture in New York’s Times Square

Known for his floral portrait of our President Barack Obama, Nigerian-American artist Kehinde Wiley unveiled a sculpture of a black soldier in the middle of New York City’s Times Square last Friday.  Pedestrians couldn’t the newest attraction in one of the most popular neighborhoods in Manhattan, or the sound of Newark’s Malcolm X Shabazz High […]

Rachel George

A Tim Burton Exhibit Is Coming To Las Vegas’ Neon Museum in October

A Tim Burton Exhibit Is Coming To Las Vegas’ Neon Museum in October

Tim Burton fans will be delighted to know that the award-winning filmmaker is debuting a new exhibition at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas just in time for Halloween. Burton is collaborating with the museum to create site-specific work that will be unlike any of his previous exhibitions. It will feature Burton’s original fine art […]

Danielle Dorsey

These Are The 7 Interactive Art Experiences Across The U.S. You Cannot Miss

These Are The 7 Interactive Art Experiences Across The U.S. You Cannot Miss

I’m a firm believer in art being a gateway to travel. You can learn so much about the history, culture, and people of a city through works of art. When traveling, I always make it a priority to check out street murals, exhibits, and cafe’s featuring work by local artists. Some cities have art that […]

Kelsey Marie