Iconic Exhibition of Black Art Returns to Wilmington After 50 Years

“Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” opens at the Delaware Art Museum on October 23.

Opening October 23, 2021, “Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” honors the 50th anniversary of a groundbreaking exhibition of Black art. Presented by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc., the show will be accompanied by rich programming celebrating African American culture.

Visitors to the Delaware Art Museum will view a restaging of the historic exhibition “Afro-American Images 1971.” Nearly 100 works of art by nationally-known artists like Romare Bearden, Sam Gilliam, Alma Thomas, and Faith Ringgold, as well as local luminaries Edward Loper, Sr. and Edward Loper, Jr., will be on display. The show is accompanied by robust programming including performances, gallery talks, and a family day.

The exhibition celebrates the legacy of Wilmington artist and educator Percy Ricks. Ricks founded the Wilmington-based artist collective Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. and mounted “Afro-American Images 1971” to emphasize the influence of African American artists in Wilmington. “Aesthetic Dynamics Inc. and the Delaware Art Museum embarked on this project to ensure that Percy Ricks, his legacy, the work that he has done to support the art community in Wilmington is thoroughly documented,” states Margaret Winslow, Curator of Contemporary Art. “We look forward to celebrating Ricks’ vision with visitors this fall through the many exciting events planned at the Museum.”

Performances will feature live and online music by Aesthetic Dynamics members: Arnold Hurt & Funk Factory on November 7 and Wayne Morgan Band on December 5, both at 1:30 p.m. On November 6, artist Oliver Patrick Scott will lead a gallery talk, and the public is invited to participate in a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon to support the documentation of artists in the exhibition. A Family Day on November 14 and the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at the Museum will further connect visitors with Black artists and performers.

“This fall, we look forward to sharing the dynamic artists, past and present, who shape our city,” says Saralyn Rosenfield, Director of Learning & Engagement. “There are opportunities for visitors of every age to experience this powerful exhibition.”

“Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” represents a multi-year collaboration between the Delaware Art Museum and members of the community, signifying an important moment in the Museum’s ongoing process of re-establishing itself as an inclusive artistic hub for the city of Wilmington. The Advisory Committee for this exhibition consists of humanities scholars, community leaders, and members of Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. with strong understanding of art history, American history, social justice, and the creativity of Black artists. Members include Raye Jones Avery, Harmon R. Carey, Bebe Coker, Colette Gaiter, Arnold S. Hurtt, Dr. Julie McGee, Dr. Kelli Morgan, Dr. James E. Newton, Dr. Jeanne Nutter, Rita Volkens, and Marilyn P. Whittington.

Organizers and Sponsors: This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. This exhibition is made possible by the Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund and the Emily DuPont Exhibition Fund. This exhibition and its related programming are made possible through grants from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, PNC Arts Alive, DuPont, Corteva Agriscience, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, and the TD Bank Charitable Foundation. This exhibition is sponsored by AARP and M&T Bank. Additional support provided by The News Journal. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

If you go:
WHAT: “Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks”
WHEN: October 23 – January 23, 2021
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE 19806
INFO: delart.org

Exhibition Programs: Presented by PNC Arts Alive. Registration and details at delart.org/whats-on.
Artist Talk with Oliver Patrick Scott – Saturday, Nov 6, 1 pm
Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon: African American Artists – Saturday, Nov 6, 11 am
Arnold Hurtt & Funk Factory – Sunday, Nov 7, 1:30 pm
Wayne Morgan Band – Sunday, Dec 5, 1:30 pm
Afro-American Images 1971 Family Day – Sunday, Nov 14, 12 pm – 3:30 pm
Inside Look Gallery Discussion – Sunday, Dec 5, 12:30 pm & Friday, Dec 10, Noon. A collaboration with the University of Delaware.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – Monday, Jan 17, 2022

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, awiggins@delart.org or 302-351-8503.

About the Delaware Art Museum

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the most comprehensive Pre-Raphaelite collection on display outside of the United Kingdom, and a growing collection of significant contemporary art.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. Visit delart.org to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Image: Waiting, (detail) 1968. Ernest Crichlow (1914–2005). Lithograph, composition: 12 × 11 1/2 inches, sheet: 18 1/2 × 13 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2019. © Estate of Ernest Crichlow.