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Skip the Video Games – I’m Giving My Kids Some Art and Culture this Christmas

November 30th, 2010 · 6 Brilliant Opinions · Random Things That Make Me Smile

When I was a medical student, I longed to collect African American art.  Although I was borrowing thousands of dollars a year to attend school, I had barely enough left over for basic living expenses – much less to buy collectibles.  I left New York when I was seventeen and returned at the age of thirty,  with $60,000+ in student loans, horrible credit  and a stripped down econobox car (with no a/c or power steering).

I bought my first piece of African American Art for $10.  It was actually a mass produced poster (all I could afford) by an up and coming Haitian Artist – Francks Deceus.  The gallery owner then showed me a small original  piece by Mr. Deceus.  It was selling for $500.  (That would be half my rent – if I wasn’t living at home with my mother! )  The gallery owner advised me to buy what I liked and could afford and build a solid collection over time.  I took her advice and 16 years later I have the foundation for a wonderful collection.    I still buy Deceus (and a number of other well known Afro-Caribbean artists) – but no more posters – only originals or limited editions!

Recently, I viewed a wonderful documentary film on African-American Artists, entitled “Colored Frames” by esteemed filmmaker Lerone Wilson, produced in collaboration with Nonso Christian Ugbode.  I am highlighting a few of the artistic works they included in their film.  The DVD of Colored Frames can be purchased for $24.95 from Amazon.com.  I bought the DVD for the kids. I have  nightmares about being old and infirmed and my adult children tossing my art collection out on the sidewalk for a good ‘ole NYC “stoop sale.” The art education starts at home and it starts now.

Here is a look at some the artwork featured in “Colored Frames.” (Click to enlarge and scr0ll over bottom of picture to view the artist’s name)

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The recession has been particularly hard on the galleries that specialize in art from the African diaspora.  Our artists are keepers of our culture and our past.  When you support an artist you support history, creativity and imagination. This should make you smile!  If you are in the Atlanta metro area, please check out Avisca Fine Art Gallery in Marietta, Georgia.   They are knowledgeable, professional, courteous business people and represent some fantastic artists in the Americas, Caribbean and Africa.  Avisca also makes an appearance at various art venues throughout the US including the NYC Black Fine Arts Show.

Thinking about giving the gift of culture, music or art to family or friends  this season?  Share your ideas in the comments section below – I’m always looking for things to make my kids “groan!”

Merry!  Merry!

Addendum – 12/01/10  –   WaterWineTravel Blog Readers Lerone Wilson is offering 20% off the “Colored Frames” DVD when you order from www.createspace.com.  Enter code UEE3L93P.  Hurry – this discount code expires January 1, 2011.

 

 

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