HBCUs: The First Patrons of African-American Art

Howard University’s Founders Library.

As discussions of diversifying the mainstream art world proliferate, it is important to recognize the spaces specifically dedicated to nurturing of Black creativity and expression historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In this feature for Black Art in America, Yvonne Bynoe touches on the important role HBCUs have had in supporting Black art and championing Black artists. While African Americans have routinely been excluded from social and artistic spaces, HBCUs have acted as places of robust engagement for and with Black artists and their work. Byone's essay reminds readers that this legacy must not be forgotten.

“As we witness record breaking sales for Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings, and African-American and African artists selling works for six figures and being acquired by museums, we must remember that the foundation for these achievements are HBCUs not White art collectors, New York galleries, or the major auction houses.” - Yvonne Bynoe