Black Folk Art

From now through September, art fans can explore several exhibits that reflect the historic journey of African Americans  from the South to the North during the early 20th century. The year 2016 marks the Centennial Celebration of the Great Migration and Chicago is honoring the occasion with three striking art exhibitions at the South Side Community Art Center, Gallery Guichard and Intuit. 


South Side Community Art Center: The Journey & New Beginnings

South Side Community Art CenterBronzeville's legendary art gallery, The South Side Community Art Center which is celebrating 75 years of community art, hosts "The Journey & New Beginnings," a multi-media show that displays different cultural aspects of the Great Migration. Chicago artists Candace Hunter, Sandra Bridges, Najee Dorsey, Gerald Griffin and Joyce Owens highlight the impact of the movement of six million African Americans that started in 1916 and lasted until 1970. The center is open Wednesday - Sunday, 12-5 p.m. and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturdays.


Gallery Guichard: Echoes of Our Journey

A photo posted by Jourdan H. Sorrell (@jourdanhsorrell) on

A newer Bronzeville institution, Gallery Guichard examines the legacy of the Great Migration on contemporary artists with "Echoes of Our Journey," an exhibit featuring six artists who live and work in the new Bronzeville Artists Lofts. Artists Alpha Burton, Marlene Campbell, Roger Carter, Andre Guichard, Alan Emerson Hicks and Raymond A. Thomas have transformed the original doors of the residence to showcase the connections between past and present. The doors were originally part of the historic Ben Franklin Store, noted as the orld's only black owned and operated department store. The artists have taken an important part of  black history and shaped it into a modern reflection. The gallery is open Wednesday - Friday, 2:30-5 pm. and 12-3 p.m. on Saturday. 


Intuit The Center For Intuitive and Outsider Art: Post Black Folk Art in America 1930-1980-2016

A photo posted by Outsider Art Fair (@outsiderartfair) on

Although not officially part of the Great Migration Celebration, Intuit's "Post Black Folk Art" show highlights similar themes. Most of the exhibits early artists display the sensibilities of living in the South, from rural life to folk tales.  Many of the more recent artists demonstrate how living in Northern metropolises helped blend the traditional culture, much of it rooted in Africa, with influences from the wider mainstream society.  Intuit is open Tuesday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Sundays 12-5 p.m.


Learn more about special events, tours and exhibits that celebrate the Great Migration in Chicago at


Top photo courtesy of Rosalind Cummings-Yeates