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Join us on Wednesday, February 10th at 2 p.m. for a fun-filled session of Art Exploration, where we will learn even more about the art of the Harlem Renaissance and make our own artwork!

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The Harlem Renaissance was a time of creative cultural explosion for the African American community.

What was the Harlem Renaissance?

 During the 1920s and 1930s, many African-Americans migrated from the South to Northern cities in search of economic opportunities. They had more freedom for self expression, allowing for writers, musicians, artists, and photographers to share and grow their craft. The movement got its name from Harlem, New York, where the movement first started.

The Harlem Renaissance is  remembered mainly as a literary movement, but it was a period of intense creativity in music and the visual arts as well. There are many artists who contributed to the Harlem Renaissance we will discuss the following.

  • Augusta Savage
  • Aaron Douglas
  • Jacob Lawrence
  • Gwendolyn B. Bennett

Augusta Savage

Sculptor Augusta Savage was one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance, as well as an influential activist and arts educator.

Born in Florida in 1892, Augusta Savage began creating art as a child by using the natural clay found in her hometown. After attending Cooper Union in New York City, she made a name for herself as a sculptor during the Harlem Renaissance.

The Harp was created for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Augusta Savage’s sculpture titled Gwendolyn Knight completed in 1934.

Aaron Douglas

Aaron Douglas was one of leading artists in the Harlem Renaissance movement. He was a painter, illustrator, and visual arts teacher. Douglas is best known for his murals that centered on the social issues regarding race and segregation of his time.   

The Judgement Day 1939

Song of the Towers 1934

Jacob Lawrence

Raised in Harlem, New York, Jacob Lawrence became the most renowned African-American artist of his time. Known for producing narrative collections like the Migration Series and War Series, he illustrated the African-American experience using vivid colors set against black and brown figures. He also served as a professor of art at the University of Washington for 15 years.

The Seamstress 1946

The Library 1960

Gwendolyn B. Bennett

Gwendolyn B. Bennett was a journalist, a poet, and an artist. She spent much of her childhood on a Paiute Native American Reservation in Nevada where her parents were teachers. Bennett worked with a variety of materials, including watercolor, oil, woodcuts, pen and ink, and batik, but ultimately found her love in writing. She had a successful column called The Ebony Flute in which she would highlight other writers and artists spreading the news of the creative advancement of the Harlem Renaissance. 

Untitled 1931

Cover art done by Bennett in 1926

Resources

If you enjoyed this glimpse into Harlem Renaissance artists and their art and would like to learn more, join us for Art Exploration on February 10th at 2pm to follow along with a fun  Harlem Renaissance inspired art project.

If you want to know more about Harlem Renaissance Artists, explore these fun titles!

Resource List: