Tag Archives: Art by Black artists

Hudson County Community College Foundation Art Collection Celebrates the Incredible Works of African American Artists  

The Foundation Art Collection is proud to honor the works of African American artists during Black History Month

Willie Cole’s 1999 work, “Man, Spirit, Mask,” is displayed prominently in HCCC’s Gabert Library.

February 9, 2024, Jersey City, NJ – With Black History Month upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on and celebrate the rich and diverse contributions and experiences of African and African American artists. The Hudson County Community College Foundation Art Collection is proud to feature an extensive collection of works by African and African American artists and works depicting the African American experience and story.

The Foundation Art Collection is home to over 90 permanently installed works by African American artists and artworks exploring the impact of the African diaspora. Many of these are world-renowned artists, some of whom are from or live in New Jersey, like Willie Cole, Faith Ringgold, and more. 

Some of the works in the Collection are challenging to look at, serving as a stark reminder of the severe hardships and grave injustices that Africans and African Americans have endured. But the Collection also pays homage to the resilience and spirit of the people who collectively struggled against injustice and celebrates the triumph of overcoming adversity. In many ways, the works in the Collection embody famed African American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou’s words, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. It may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

One group of works that captures the poetry of this struggle is the Collection’s many portraits of renowned Caribbean artist Bob Blackburn by differing artists including Will Barnett, Paul John, Rie Hasagawa, Denise Kasof, Justin Sands, and Bruce Waldman. Born in Summit, New Jersey to Jamaican immigrant parents, Blackburn grew up in Harlem and became an accomplished artist. Frustrated that segregated printshops of the day wouldn’t let him work there, Blackburn took matters into his own hands and created his printshop in 1947 so that people of color and women (who were also excluded from printmaking workshops) had a place to work and create. Today, over 75 years later, the EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop (EFA RBPMW) is the nation’s oldest and longest-running community print shop.

The Foundation Art Collection is home to three works by Willie Cole, a world-renowned sculptor and New Jersey native. Cole is perhaps best known for transforming unassuming, everyday household items like bicycle parts, high-heeled shoes, and even discarded appliances into striking sculptures. He also creates art inspired by African masks, and his 1999 limited-edition print triptych, Man Spirit Mask, is prominently displayed in Gabert Library. Beyond HCCC, Cole’s art is found at prestigious museums like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Newark Museum.

The Collection also features two works by Faith Ringgold, who was born in Harlem and later moved to Englewood, New Jersey. As a child, Ringgold suffered from chronic asthma and was thus drawn to art as a hobby at an early age. Ringgold is known for her paintings, sculptures, mixed media, and, perhaps most of all, her narrative quilts like The American Collection and The French Collection. The Foundation Art Collection is home to the digital print with hand lithography, Coming to Jones Road, Under a Blood Red Sky, which explores the relationship between African Americans’ experience of escaping slavery by the Underground Railroad during the Civil War and Ringgold’s move from Harlem, where she was treated with dignity and respect, to her new home in Englewood, where she encountered racism and hostility. Meanwhile, a serigraph of Here Come Moses tells the story of the hopes and dreams of another formerly enslaved person as he fled northward by the underground railroad African Americans followed to freedom during slavery. Ringgold’s art can be seen in high-profile museums like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Guggenheim Museum.

Other accomplished African American artists featured in the Collection include Gordon Parks, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Carmen Cartiness Johnson, Mickalene Thomas, and Chakaia Booker. The Collection also features art from HCCC’s own African American art students, right alongside the works of world-renowned artists. Notably, recent donations have brought to the Collection of sculptures from ancient Egypt, Kenya, and Ethiopia.  

Furthermore, the Collection features many inspiring photographs of iconic moments of the civil rights movement, such as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at the National Mall and the iconic photo of Olympic athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists in the Black Power salute during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics.  The Collection’s curator, Andrea Siegel, Ph.D., explains, “The gravity of these iconic, historic moments can seem intimidating to students, but seeing these smaller photographs up close in person makes it a more manageable experience that they can take something from.”

Beyond celebrating the lives and work of African and African American artists, another primary goal of the Collection is to awaken a newfound appreciation and curiosity about African American art. Siegel says, “We want to instill and reinforce a sense of pride in the community. When the Collection can show someone something new about their heritage they didn’t know about or inspire a new passion, it has done its job.”

HCCC serves Hudson, one of the most diverse counties in the United States. Its Journal Square campus in Jersey City is located in the heart of one of the most diverse cities in the United States, while its North Hudson Campus in Union City is home to a richly diverse community of the Hispanic diaspora.  HCCC President Dr. Christopher Reber says, “We are honored to serve one of the most diverse communities in the United States, and our Foundation Art Collection is a true reflection of this diversity.”

Additionally, the Foundation Art Collection supports HCCC students, many of whom are first-generation college students from traditionally underserved communities. Seeing fine art firsthand inspires empathy, ignites curiosity, and gives students newfound cultural capital. Siegel states that, ultimately, “The Foundation Art Collection reflects to our community all its diverse beauty.”

Unlike some college collections, the Foundation Art Collection isn’t under lock and key, out of reach of the public. Under Dr. Andrea Siegel’s leadership, the entire HCCC campus has blossomed into a living art museum, open to all members of the College and the wider community to experience and enjoy. Students see these pieces by renowned African and African American artists daily.

The Foundation Art Collection is proud to pay homage to the incredible contributions of African and African American artists during Black History Month and all year long. The Foundation Art Collection honors these amazing artists and works by being open to all, and HCCC is happy to give tours of the Collection.

If you’d like to arrange a tour of the Hudson County Community College Art Collection, please email Andrea Siegel at [email protected]

If you’re interested in checking the collection out online, visit  www.hccc.edu/FoundationArt/Collections

ART MATTERS Galleria Hudson Jersey City Celebrates Black History Month

  New Owners offer Framing, Photo-Printing & Venue for Artists

 Art Matters


Art Matters







Paintings by the late Elmira Wood and photographs by Mickey Mathis on view at Galleria Hudson in Jersey City.

By Sally Deering

Downtown Jersey City, on the corner where Jersey and Newark Avenues meet, Galleria Hudson frame shop just got a little more interesting. John and MaryJean Frohling and MaryJean’s son Henry Greenfield took over Galleria Hudson just a few months ago and made some changes. Along with framing services, and large-format photo-printing, Galleria Hudson now offers local artists a venue to show their work.

Art Matters February is Black History Month, and the Frohlings and Greenfield are spotlighting local photographer Mickey Mathis, a Jersey City resident who can be seen, camera in hand, strolling through local neighborhoods capturing light as it spills onto buildings, and freeze-framing moments in time. Mathis has been chronicling Jersey City’s neighborhoods for more than 20 years. He made his mark as a New York photographer taking pictures of celebrities and big events like the Ali-Frasier fight. Continue reading ART MATTERS Galleria Hudson Jersey City Celebrates Black History Month