African-American visual artists on a mission to expose black art

When the folks at Five Rivers Health Center decided to fill the renovated building with African American art, they purchased 18 pieces from seven AAVAG artists.

B. Cato Mayberry, a lifelong Daytonian who is currently president of AAVAG, says that although he is not an artist, he is definitely an art enthusiast. He believes the visual arts provide “a great way to lighten one’s mind”. Using technology, her group was able to expand its reach to include virtual members and offer workshops in other cities.

Learn more about AAVAG.

Founded in 1992 by Curtis Barnes and Willis “Bing” Davis, the idea was to bring artists and patrons together to share their passion for the visual arts and work to uplift artists of African descent throughout the Miami Valley. Membership is made up of professional artists, patrons of the arts, amateurs and interested members of the community, all with a common commitment to achieving the goals of the organization.

The group’s programming includes education, exhibition and communication components. Resources open to the community include workshops, open drawing and painting studios, mentoring, presentations, seminars, lectures, demonstrations and technical assistance.

To explore‘Humility will get you further than money:’ Mutt’s Sauce owner is growing her business during the pandemic

The organization also offers group exhibitions to other organizations, area colleges, institutions and private companies.

Andrea Cummings, who originally joined the organization as a non-artist associate member, was inspired to develop her own artistic abilities and is now a member of the Program Development Committee and Curator of AAVAG Gallery.

Her sister is famed Dayton artist Yvette Dalton. In the non-juried section of the DAI exhibit, you’ll see three of Dalton’s works, including a collage on paper, “Harriett Tubman: Eye of Freedom.” You will also see two beautiful hand embroideries from Cummings at DAI. One is titled “Down Home” and is a recreation of her grandmother’s four-room farmhouse in Kentucky. The other is a photo of 4th & Horace streets in the village of Wright Dunbar.

Legend

Harriett Tubman: Eye on Freedom by Yvette Dalton is featured in the non-juried portion of the Black Heritage Through Visual Rhythms exhibition at the Dayton Art Institute. Dalton is a member of the Guild of African American Visual Artists, which is collaborating with the DAI on the exhibit. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAYTON ART INSTITUTE

Harriett Tubman: Eye on Freedom by Yvette Dalton is featured in the non-juried portion of the Black Heritage Through Visual Rhythms exhibition at the Dayton Art Institute.  Dalton is a member of the Guild of African American Visual Artists, which is collaborating with the DAI on the exhibit.  PHOTO COURTESY OF DAYTON ART INSTITUTE
callout arrowLegend

Harriett Tubman: Eye on Freedom by Yvette Dalton is featured in the non-juried portion of the Black Heritage Through Visual Rhythms exhibition at the Dayton Art Institute. Dalton is a member of the Guild of African American Visual Artists, which is collaborating with the DAI on the exhibit. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAYTON ART INSTITUTE

“I was always a seamstress and knew how to pick up needle and thread and create something, but I never got to develop things like color and composition,” she explains. “AAVAG has developed me as an artist.”

The AAVAG Art Gallery

In 2017, through a lease with the Dayton campus of Central State University, a student lounge was transformed into the AAVAG Art Gallery. Located on the second floor of 840 Germantown, the Gallery hosts rotating member exhibits for a two-month period. Currently on display are 25 of Clarice Moore’s oil and acrylic paintings on canvas.

Moore, a portrait painter, caricaturist and visual artist, is also the author of a children’s book, “Dilly the Violin”.

To exploreNew gourmet dessert, wine and cupcake cafe opens in downtown Dayton

A two-year traveling exhibition program, “Exposition Through Art”, is in its third iteration. “Members and guest artists are asked to provide original artwork that will not only be exhibited, but celebrated on a 24-month calendar,” says Cummings. The first project focused on the Wright Dunbar Village area, the second featured historic African American churches in Southwestern Ohio. The exhibitions were hosted by churches, other art galleries and cafes.

After not having an “Exhibition Through Art” exhibit last year due to COVID-19, AAVAG’s new traveling exhibit – “The Artist’s Life” – is now on display on the second floor of the Dayton Metro Library at downtown Dayton.

callout arrowLegend

Cicada Sundae is a digital creation by photographer Horace Dozier of what we all experienced last summer. The work is on display at the Dayton Main Library as part of an exhibition organized by the Guild of African American Visual Artists. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VISUAL ARTISTS GUILD

Cicada Sundae is a digital creation by photographer Horace Dozier of what we all experienced last summer.  The work is on display at the Dayton Main Library as part of an exhibition organized by the Guild of African American Visual Artists.  PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VISUAL ARTISTS GUILD
callout arrowLegend

Cicada Sundae is a digital creation by photographer Horace Dozier of what we all experienced last summer. The work is on display at the Dayton Main Library as part of an exhibition organized by the Guild of African American Visual Artists. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VISUAL ARTISTS GUILD

“We asked contributing artists to create something representative of their journey as an artist, of an important event or aspect of their life, or of people who have played a significant role in their development,” explains Cummings.

Calendars supporting this exhibit are $20 each, with proceeds supporting developing young artist programs in the community. The calendar can be purchased from the organization’s website or by contacting Craig Screven at [email protected]

HOW TO GET THERE:

What: “Exhibition Through Art – The Artist’s Life”, a traveling exhibition of the Guild of African American Visual Artists

Or: Dayton Main Library, 2nd Floor Art Gallery.

When: Until Sunday March 27

Admission: Free

HOW TO GET THERE:

What: “Life in Color, the African American Visual Artists Guild Exhibition of Paintings by Clarice Moore.

Or: Central State University Dayton Campus, 840 Germantown Street, Dayton

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday

Admission: Free

Associated programming: A free public reception is scheduled in Moore’s honor from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 5. The artwork will be available for additional viewing by March 25, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about AAVAG, visit aagvag.org or call (937) 263-9907.

callout arrowLegend

Morris Howard was inspired to create Under My Skin, an oil on canvas painting by what he learned about himself through DNA analysis. His work is on display at the Dayton Main Library as part of an exhibition organized by the Guild of African American Visual Artists. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VISUAL ARTISTS GUILD

Morris Howard was inspired to create Under My Skin, an oil on canvas painting by what he learned about himself through DNA analysis.  His work is on display at the Dayton Main Library as part of an exhibition organized by the Guild of African American Visual Artists.  PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VISUAL ARTISTS GUILD
callout arrowLegend

Morris Howard was inspired to create Under My Skin, an oil on canvas painting by what he learned about himself through DNA analysis. His work is on display at the Dayton Main Library as part of an exhibition organized by the Guild of African American Visual Artists. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VISUAL ARTISTS GUILD

Briana R. Cross