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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Embrace and Educate Forum at The National Black Arts Festival

By George McKinley Martin

EMBRACE and educate (July 22, 2007) was a panel
discussion focusing on African American art that
featured former NBA players, Darrell Walker of New
Orleans and Elliot Perry of Memphis. Both participants
shared how they got started, shared images of works in
their collections, and spoke to the importance of
supporting African American art.

Throughout the discussion, the important thread that
continually ran through each of their experiences was
the need to read about fine art and was key; to make a strong
connection to reputable galleries, and to get to know
the artists. The artist studio visits appears to be a
strong plus to understanding where an artist is with
his/her work and where they tend to move. The personal
contact proves invaluable. When that personal
connection is not possible, then a reputable gallery
should be able to steer a collector in the right
direction after the collector decides on his/her
collecting level, interest, focus, and budget. As an
example, Elliot Perry began by collecting the Masters
of black art, but made a change about a few years ago
to focus on young and emerging artists because he
wanted to make personal connections and get to
personally know the artists who would be a part of his
collection. His collection will be featured in a
museum exhibition in the very near future with a focus
on young artists. Darrell Walker's collection has
already been a part of many exhibitions around the
country. Exhibition catalogues document Darrell's

The panel discussion ended with a question and answer
1. Their collections are priceless.

2. They recognize good art because they have educated
themselves through reading; visiting art museums and
galleries; and visiting artists studios, as well as
talking to others in the art field.

3. Anyone can collect within any budget.

4. The biggest mistake that each of the panelists
made was waiting too long to make a decision on a
purchase, then the piece got away.

This has been a rich experience to be in the company
of so many others with a passion and respect for
preserving the culture of our people through the
visual arts.

All content © 2007 Black Artists of DC all rights reserved.
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