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Inspiring artwork in the “Soul & Spirit” exhibit signifies Black Joy as the heartbeat of our culture

Editorial by Christy McNeil, Director of Marketing at the Arts Council of Fayetteville

[Fayetteville, North Carolina] – The Black Culture Experience series is all about the artistry, connectedness, impact, and vision of African American creatives that dives deep into the undeniable influence that Black Culture has made in shaping the dynamics of our nation by honoring their innumerable contributions within the ARTS all year round.

Ellington-White Contemporary (EWC), with funding support from the Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County (Arts Council), kicks off the 2023 Black Culture Experience series with the “Soul & Spirit: Celebrating Black Joy” Exhibition that will be on display January 27 – March 4, 2023, at The Arts Center in Downtown Fayetteville. The exhibit is free and open for public viewing.

“Soul & Spirit” is a national juried, Black Art competition that celebrates the spirit of Black Joy and its resiliency that has carried the existence of Black culture throughout history. Grounded in the roots of African heritage, the modernized artistry that signifies Black Joy has become the heartbeat of the culture that drives Black creatives to be bold and intentional in breaking the mold and mindsets of conventional artforms.

The “Soul & Spirit” exhibition is reflective of how the progression of the Black Art movement has made its impact. The inspiring collection of artworks is evolutionary. It shares the cultural identity of twenty-eight celebrated Black creatives from across the U.S. through their traditional and contemporary African American visual artistry. Many of these national, award-winning Black creatives have exhibited in major international museums, and have been featured on PBS, CBS Sunday Morning, and other national media sources.

Exhibiting Artists:

Adeleke Atinuke

Alonzo Crawford

Andrew Johnson

Billye Schley

Brandon Dudly

Bryan Wilson

Bryane Broadie

Chad Everett

David Black

Desmond McFarlane

Don DonCee Coulter

Dwight Smith

Felicia Ashby

Gerold Vital

Gregory Johnson

Imani Cooper-Mkandawire

J’reyesha Brannon

Jerry Weems

Jessica Kelly

K.E. Griffin

Leroy Robinson

Lydia Boddie-Rice

Lydia Thompson

Onzie Norman

Senghor Reid

Shirley Woodson

Timothy Porter

Tyrone Geter

“Arts Council’s support for this national Black Art exhibition helps to assist EWC in implementing our mission of providing high quality arts events for the community,” says Calvin Mims, Executive Director of the Ellington-White Community Development Corporation. Through a Café Call for Arts, EWC and the Arts Council invited artists of African descent to enter this national Black Art exhibition. Curator Dwight Smith, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at Fayetteville State University, and guest jurors Shirley Woodson and Senghor Reid selected the works on display in The Arts Center gallery.

“The Arts Council is proud to partner with the Ellington-White Community Development Corporation in support of this Black Culture Experience exhibition,” says Bob Pinson, Interim President and CEO of the Arts Council.



Contact the Arts Council to inquire of gallery availability, adjusted gallery hours, and any restrictions that may apply prior to scheduling a Group Gallery Tour. To request a tour, contact:

Barbara Hayes, Receptionist



Visit to view the full Black Culture Experience series of programs.



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