A spotlight on black artists at the Artists' Market
Featured through February: Contemporary works by local artists plus a retrospective, from slavery through modern times


Photographer Teddy Wilson with two photographs he took while traveling in Africa. He has shown his work professionally since 1968, and his work has been displayed throughout the United States. (Photo by George Leroy Hunter)

By George Leroy Hunter
SHOHOLA — Painter Ronald Brown says he's been doing art professionally since high school.
"As a little kid I always used to draw," said Brown, one of the African-American artists whose work is on display at the Artists' Market Community Center in Shohola in celebration of Black History Month. "Art has always been my first love."
Brown, who lives in Sparrowbush, N.Y., inspires a new generation of artists every time he steps into his classroom.
"I am an art teacher and I teach in high school," he said. "I seek and try to inspire young kids who want to become artists themselves, making sure they get knowledge and are introduced to different forms of art. Art is a very valuable part of life, as far as teaching aesthetics, and inspires people's creative juices.”
On the day of the opening reception, a steady flow of people went in and out of the Artists' Market Community Center, a nondescript white two-story house on a quiet, tree-lined street. An eclectic display of work by black artists fills the interior, from photographs taken around the world to paintings, wood carvings, and jewelry. The selections are as diverse as the artists who created them.
Visitors enjoyed complimentary refreshments, including coffee, tea and wine, as they studied the work on the display. They also had a chance to mingle with the artists, Ronald Brown, Teddy Wilson, Mary “Mef” Gannon, Warren Pardi, and Jane Brennan.
"The Artists' Market Community Center not only celebrates and promotes creative expressions of people of color but all artists of various backgrounds," said Nick Roes, the center's director and an artist himself.
Curated by the Barryville Area Arts Association, the display not only features the work of local black artists but illuminates the history of black Americans, from slavery to the civil rights movement to the modern era.
"We wanted to focus on black artists and trace their contributions from slavery to modern times," said Roe. "We were so pleased to find talented black artists locally I never even knew were here. It was such a great learning experience and so much fun putting together. Everybody is welcome here and we want them to come. We try to build community through art. We believe art brings people together."
The exhibit will run through the end of February. The center is located at 114 Richardson Ave. in Shohola. For information about visiting hours, upcoming events and how to become a member as an artist, visit http://artistsmarketcc.com.
For more information about the Barryville Area Arts Association visit barryvilleareaarts.org.