4 Virtual Black art exhibits to see for Black History Month (2024)

Photo Courtesy of The ARTery.

The month of February pays tribute to generations of African Americans and their too-often neglected accomplishments and contributions to society. This month is an opportunity to not only recognize their accomplishments but to also reflect on the painful experiences and events that have shaped Black history.

Though Black History Month notably honors those who strived to make a change in fighting against racism, such as civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., or those who have paved the way in American politics and leadership, such as Shirley Chisholm or Barack Obama, the month also celebrates those who made an impact in Black arts and culture—like 1970s neo-expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.

It is important to not only take the time to honor the African Americans who made a tremendous impact in our country’s social, civil and political history, but to also honor the African American artists who have created remarkable, awe-inspiring visuals of the Black experience in America.

Listed below are a few virtual Black art exhibits to see for Black History Month and beyond.

4 Virtual Black art exhibits to see for Black History Month (2)

1. Philadelphia Museum of Art, African American Art Exhibition

The African American Art Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is presenting a selection of artwork from their collection of over 1,400 pieces of art from over 250 Black artists. Some of these artists include Donald E. Camp, Faith Ringgold and Elizabeth Catlett.

One of the pieces featured is the Portrait of James Baldwin, 1945 by Beauford Delaney, a modernist painter who is known for his work with the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s and 40s.

The works featured in the online exhibition reflect a wide range of individual expression from African American artists and are deeply intertwined with Black history in the U.S—from early colonial slavery, to the civil rights movement and to now in modern day history.

The curators of this exhibition were Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Associate Professor of American Art at the University of Pennsylvania and John Vick, Project Assistant Curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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2. Google Arts and Culture, Black History Month Collection

The Black History and Culture collection on the Google Arts and Culture site features galleries of photography, artifacts, artworks, music and much more that reflects the history, arts and culture of the Black experience in America.

There are many compiled collections featuring the works of Black artists, such as Black: a Color, a Material, a Concept, African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, and Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety.”

Google Arts and Culture also gives access to online Black art exhibits from museums and art institutions from all over the country, such as Art by African Americans in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Hewitt Collection of African American Art, or ‘A Constellation’ at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

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3. Contemporary Art Gallery Online, Black History Month Exhibition

The Contemporary Art Gallery Online is celebrating Black History by highlighting emerging, modern day artists from around the world in their Black History Month Exhibition. Zienna Brissett, Leslie Anne Ikpe, Rudy Martin and Allegra Norris are a few of the artists featured in this exhibition.

Some of the art features are the How it Really Looks Series by Chicago visual artist Nicole Van Dyken, which are 9” x 11” digital collages that depict colorfully, yet deep images of American history and events. A lot of Van Dyken’s work is “meant to tell a story—and she enjoys taking even the most morbid tale and adding strength and hope to it through color,” according to the exhibit page.

This online exhibition shows over 25 artists that are painters, photographers, sculptors and digital creators. The exhibit will be archived after February and can still be viewed through their website.

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4. The National Portrait Gallery Collection, Portraits of African Americans

Portraits of African Americans at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery is showing more than 1,000 portraits of African Americans whose lives and achievements have contributed to our nation’s history.

The first portraits ever commissioned for the Smithsonian African American collection were from two Black woman artists—Harlem Renaissance painter Laura Wheeler Waring and Betsy Graves Reyneau, who has painted George Washington Carver, Marian Washington, Mary McLeod Bethune and Joe Louis.

Portraits of 18th-century poet Phillis Wheatley, congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, boxer Muhammad Ali, Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes and MLB player Jackie Robinson are all featured in the online viewing of the exhibit.

The most notable portraits featured in this collection are President Barack Obama, painted by Kehinde Wiley in 2018 and First Lady Michelle Obama, painted by Amy Sherald in 2018 as well.

4 Virtual Black art exhibits to see for Black History Month (2024)


4 Virtual Black art exhibits to see for Black History Month? ›

Artists such as Edmonia Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Alma Thomas, Jacob Lawrence, and many others, influenced American culture, working at pivotal times in history. Their art covers abolitionism, the Great Migration, World War I and II, the Civil Rights movement, and modern themes of Black Lives Matter.

Who is the black artist to celebrate for Black History Month? ›

Artists such as Edmonia Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Alma Thomas, Jacob Lawrence, and many others, influenced American culture, working at pivotal times in history. Their art covers abolitionism, the Great Migration, World War I and II, the Civil Rights movement, and modern themes of Black Lives Matter.

What are the different forms in black art? ›

These artworks span three centuries of creative expression in various media, including painting, sculpture, textiles, and photography, and represent numerous artistic styles, from realism to neoclassicism, abstract expressionism, modernism, and folk art.

What is the Black History Month arts and culture? ›

Each year, Black History Month brings another opportunity to discover contributions that enrich our nation. The 2024 theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” explores the creativity, resilience and innovation from a culture that has uplifted spirits and soothed souls in countless ways across centuries.

How is art a powerful tool for African American? ›

The impact of African American art is vast and important to capturing the culture, history and legacy of African Americans. It serves as a powerful tool for storytelling, shedding light on the struggles, triumphs and resilience of the African American community.

Who was the 1st Black artist? ›

Henry Ossawa Tanner was the first successful African-American artist. He triumphed in a world that was predominantly white to create paintings of power, beauty and poignancy. Tanner's mother was a black slave who had dramatically escaped via a railroad.

What famous singer is celebrated on Black History Month? ›

Aretha Franklin

Following Sam Cooke in recording pop music, the rest is history. With an incredible 112 charted singles on the US Billboard charts, from 1961 all the way up to to 1998, Franklin's contribution to music and culture was symbolic.

What is the theme for Black History Month 2024? ›

2024 | African Americans and the Arts

The theme for Black History Month 2024 focuses on “African Americans and the Arts”.

What are the 4 main categories of art style? ›

Here are four popular art styles and how to identify them.
  • 4 Common Art Genres You Can Identify. Realism. ...
  • Realism: Like Photography. Realism is all about capturing the world as it truly appears. ...
  • Surrealism: Enchanting & Dreamlike. ...
  • Impressionism: Colorful & Fluid. ...
  • Post-Impressionism: Unique & Stylish.

What are any four forms of visual art? ›

The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, comics, design, crafts, and architecture.

Are there themes for Black History Month? ›

This year, the Black History Month theme is “African Americans and the Arts,” which explores the key influence African American have had in the fields of music, film, fashion, visual and performing arts, folklore, literature, language, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, according to History.

What is Black history art? ›

“African American art is infused with African, Caribbean, and the Black American lived experiences. In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount.

Why is art important to Black culture? ›

African American artists have used art to preserve history and community memory as well as for empowerment.

Why is Black important in art? ›

It can be linked with death, mourning, evil magic, and darkness, but it can also symbolize elegance, wealth, restraint, and power. As the first pigment used by artists in prehistory and the first ink used by book printers, black played an important role in the development of art and literature.

What is the theme of the Black History Month art? ›

Black History Month 2024 celebrates the rich tapestry of African American contributions and struggles throughout history. This year's theme, African Americans and the Arts, pays homage to the deep-seated heritage while empowering future generations to soar.

Who was an important Black figure artist? ›

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988)

The legend of American art Jean-Michel Basquiat is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. His earliest artistic influence came from anatomical drawings his mother brought him while he was recovering after a car accident.

Who were the important artists in the black arts movement? ›

The Black Arts Movement started in 1965 when poet Amiri Baraka [LeRoi Jones] established the Black Arts Repertory Theater in Harlem, New York, as a place for artistic expression. Artists associated with this movement include Audre Lorde, Ntozake Shange, James Baldwin, Gil Scott-Heron, and Thelonious Monk.

Who was the sculptor for Black History Month? ›

As part of Black History Month, NewsNation is celebrating artful and creative pioneers within the Black community who have left an indelible mark on the arts and shattered barriers for other minority artists in the U.S. and in the world.

Who is the Black history collage artist? ›

“Although Bearden is the most well-known, other African American artists making collages in the mid-twentieth century include David C. Driskell, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Sam Middleton, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, and many more,” writes Delmez.

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