Charles White is an acclaimed painter and muralist whose experience with the Works Progress Administration public projects enforced his desire to use art as a tool to educate about and promote African American contributions to culture and politics. His portraits are known for their representations of human dignity and the strength of working class communities. White is also renowned for his impeccable draftsmanship. His pencil renderings of the abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth served as preliminary drawings for a larger tableau. With soft gentle marks, White captured the likeness and character of these iconic and historically significant subjects, the faces of whom can be seen in White's 1939-40 monumental work "Five Great American Negroes."
The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art
One of the most important collections of African American visual art dating from the 18th century to the present, the collection includes 62 works from Edward Bannister, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Robert S. Duncanson, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence and others. This collection forms the foundation of a multidisciplinary center for the study, understanding and appreciation of African American art and culture. Items from the collection have previously rotated in the Evans Center Gallery and through unique exhibitions such as the 2012 "Life's Link: A Fred Wilson Installation," and the 2017 travelling exhibition of Jacob Lawrence's work.