When local artist LeGrant Taylor helped create the Black History Month art exhibit in the Garner Performing Arts Center’s lobby, he wanted people to feel like they were part of the scene.
The theme for this year’s exhibit is “Thou Art Black Church.”
Colorful paintings by different artists hang on the wall, depicting experiences and sights in the black church.
“To me I don’t think it would be different than if I went to any other church,” Taylor said. “But I wanted people to feel what actually goes on in the black church. And if they feel any different then maybe they need to go and experience it.”
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He said historically the black church was a safe haven for and the backbone of the black community, a place where people came together in bad times and good times, he said.
“So it’s nothing different from this church than any other church,” Taylor said. “That’s the message I was trying to convey. It’s a safe haven, a refuge.”
Taylor said he hopes people will be wowed when they experience the exhibit.
Many of the artists whose paintings make up the exhibit are well-known local artists, including Taylor. Among them are Ed Baxter, Willie Bigelow, Wendy Dickerson, Shawn Etheridge, Eric McRay, Jermaine Powell and Debbie Crawford.
Taylor said most of the artists already had their own collections of paintings that represented the theme.
Last year’s theme was “Black Women.” This is the fourth year for the exhibition.
The theme idea was created by Debbie Dunn, the auditorium manager at the GPAC.
She said she wanted something to coincide with the annual “Black History Month” performance. This year’s performers will be the Jones Family Singers from Bay City, Texas. The Jones Family Singers is a gospel band made up of five sisters, two brothers and their father.
According to their website, the Rolling Stones and NPR called them a “must see act” in 2014. The Jones Family Singers will perform Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.
“We are pretty excited about it,” Dunn said. “They have toured throughout the United States and Germany and some other countries. They played the Lincoln Center Outdoor Festival at the Lincoln Center in NY.
“I feel confident this is their first visit to the Triangle area.”
How to get tickets and when to see the exhibit
The art will be on display Jan. 15 through Feb. 29 and can be viewed Monday-Friday 1:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. and during events.
To get tickets for the Jones Family Singers Feb. 21 at 4 p.m., visit GPAC’s website, garnerperformingartscenter.com or call 919-661-4602.