‘Young, Gifted and Black’ opens at Lehigh University to usher in Black History Month

Written by on February 1, 2022

‘Young, Gifted and Black’ opens at Lehigh University to usher in Black History Month

By Emma Illick-Frank
February 1, 2022

The ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ exhibit will run through the end of May at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center. (Courtesy Photo)

On the first day of Black History Month, a new art exhibition opens at Lehigh University. 

It’s called “Young, Gifted and Black.” 

Listen to the story.

The collection takes its name from a song recorded by Nina Simone in 1969 and  features the work of over 50 Black painters, sculptors and photographers.

Former MTV executive Bernard Lumpkin owns the collection. He’s loaning it to universities like Lehigh so that explorations of race can reach a wider audience.

“What these artists are wrestling with is the challenge of representing the Black experience from a place that isn’t mediated by western culture, by prejudice, by preconceptions,” Lumpkin said. 

The art world has struggled for a long time to address inequity and injustice, he said, and exhibitions featuring artists of color is a first step. But there’s much more work to be done.

“We are also talking about staff, about the board, where the money comes from to support artists,” Lumpkin said.

William Crow, director of Lehigh’s Art Gallery, said the collection is one part of a wider effort to make Lehigh more inclusive.

“We’re offering a wide range of free public programs, from artist talks and workshops to panel discussions,” he said.  

In honor of Black History Month, Lehigh is also hosting a series of workshops, panels and exhibits that are free and open to the public.

More information on these events can be found on the university’s website

“Young, Gifted and Black” will be on display at Lehigh’s Zoellner Arts Center until the end of May.

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