Creating Community.
Cinque Gallery Artists

Creating Community. Cinque Gallery Artists

Press Preview: May 1, 2021
VIP Opening: May 2, 2021
Public Exhibition: May 3 – July 4, 2021

The League is proud to present the first introductory survey of Cinque Gallery, one of the United States’ most innovative and enduring non-profit artists’ spaces. This ground-breaking exhibition celebrates a diverse selection of late twentieth century and contemporary artists who participated from 1969 – 2004 in this pioneering artist collaborative enterprise. The Romare Bearden Foundation is an institutional partner of The Art Students League in this unprecedented tribute.

Founded by three master League artists, Romare Bearden, Ernest Crichlow, and Norman Lewis, who were determined to “provide a place where the works of unknown, and neglected artists of talent….primarily minority artists” would “not only be shown but nurtured and developed.” Cinque Gallery successfully fostered a mutually supportive community of artists for nearly four decades – and yet, it is virtually undetectable in modern scholarship and criticism.

The League has invited arts administrator and curator Susan Stedman and artist Nanette Carter to direct this ambitious curatorial, programmatic and scholarly endeavor. This exhibition of paintings, works on paper, sculptures and archival documents are part of Stedman’s oral history project illuminating the achievements of several generations of artists such as Emma Amos, Betty Blayton-Taylor, Tom Feelings, Cynthia Hawkins, Norma Morgan, Howard McCalebb, Otto Neals and Ben Wigfall.

The exhibition also features other artists, in addition to the Gallery’s founders, who have become widely celebrated: Charles Alston, Robert Blackburn, Elizabeth Catlett, Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam, Faith Ringgold, Stanley Whitney, Hale Woodruff.

“The founders created The Cinque Gallery because of the denial of opportunities for serious artists, particularly artists of color and that problem is far from solved. The League seeks to create public recognition of the overlooked contributors of American art while investing in the next generation of artists and cultural producers through our affordable classes and free programs,” says Genevieve Martin, former director of external affairs, who initiated the project.

“Creating Community. Cinque Gallery Artists” exhibition will be supplemented by a series of public programs and artist talks:

2/10/21: The Origins of “Creating Community: Cinque Gallery Artists”
2/24/21: Artist Ray Grist Interviewed by Nanette Carter
3/10/21: Artist Frank Wimberley Interviewed by Nanette Carter
3/24/21: Artist Robin Holder Interviewed by Nanette Carter
3/31/21: Interview and Studio Visit with Artist Nanette Carter
4/7/21: Artist Otto Neals Interviewed by Nanette Carter
4/14/21: Artist Bill Hutson Interviewed by Nanette Carter
5/13/21: Live from the Cinque Installation with Guest Curator Susan Stedman and Anki King, Associate Director of Phyllis Harriman Manson Gallery
5/17/21: Establishment of Institutions – Creating Community, creators of institutional organizations talk about their experiences.
5/26/21: Presenting Four Cinque Artists presented by Diedra Harris-Kelley, Co-Director of The Bearden Foundation


SUSAN STEDMAN , Guest Exhibition Curator, is an arts administrator, grantmaker, and advisor to museums, arts, and social justice organizations. She also is an independent curator and manager for artists’ estates and collections. She recently contributed to the catalog and exhibition “Procession. The Art of Norman Lewis” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


NANETTE CARTER , Guest Program Curator, is an artist who presently teaches art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Her paintings and drawings can be found in the collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; The Newark Museum; The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; and many others. Carter had a solo exhibition at Cinque Gallery and served on its artistic advisory committee, 1988-1994, and on the board of the Harlem School of the Arts, 2002 – 2006.


JEWEL HAM, Inaugural League Curatorial Fellow, is a 2020 summa cum laude Howard University graduate, with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. She intends to utilize her fellowship and professional experience to increase art access in black and brown communities.



THE ROMARE BEARDEN FOUNDATION, institutional partner of “Creating Community, was established in 1990 as a non-profit organization by the estate of Romare Bearden (1911-1988) to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the preeminent American artist. After Cinque Gallery closed, the Foundation created the Cinque Artists Program to perpetuate Bearden’s legacy of support by providing a platform for artists and curators to present their work. This contemporary program celebrates the vision of the founders and artists who were a part of its history.

View the press release.

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