The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Black Arts Council celebrated its 30th anniversary by honoring artists at a sold-out benefit at the museum on Monday.
The Black Arts Council is a group of museum patrons, philanthropists, collectors, and art enthusiasts focused on raising the visibility, access, and appreciation for art and artists of the African diaspora at The Museum of Modern Art. It is one of several affiliate groups at the institution and was initially designed as “an audience development effort.”
It was created in 1993 and originally named The Friends of Education by co-founders Dr. Akosua Barthwell Evans, Agnes Gund, and David Rockefeller Jr.
Alvin Hall, current chair of the Black Arts Council, welcomed benefit guests “united and sustained by the sheer love and conviction” of uplifting artistic voices.
“On the occasion of our 30th anniversary, I’m proud to invite guests to a rare opportunity to join us for an evening that convenes and celebrates the Black artists who shaped the history—and evolving legacy—of the Black Arts Council at MoMA,” said Hall.
“Art is a journey that manifests itself in so many different ways,” Hall continued.
“Imagination and intellect and intuiting, that’s where creativity comes from,” he told the guests seated around ranunculus and peony centerpieces and votive-covered tables in the atrium.
The event raised $500,000, with tickets beginning at $1500. Ticket holders wearing sequined blazers, floral gowns, and cherry red horn-rimmed glasses applauded as Hall announced their raised figures.
Attendees include Leon, Smooth Nzewi, Julie Mehretu, Black Thought, Cierra Britton, and Nikki Kynard. Honorees included Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Charles White, Kerry James Marshall, and Latoya Ruby Frazier. Guests were also treated to an acoustic performance from Grammy-winning jazz vocalist, Samara Joy.
“As we remember our evolution in this milestone year, I’m thrilled to welcome our founding supporters and vital collaborators—those visionaries who heralded our vital mission at MoMA and who continue to invest in the cultivation, inclusion, and preservation of Black art and artists in the canon for generations to come,” said Hall.
Learn more about the Black Arts Council here.