The NCCU Art Museum is a vital teaching resource and cultural institution on the campus of North Carolina Central University. It houses one of North Carolina’s leading collections of works by African-American artists and by others dealing with the black experience.
Selections from the permanent collection are always on view in the Carol G. Belk Gallery, and the museum hosts five special exhibits each academic year in its largest space. Recent special exhibits have included photographs by civil rights-era photojournalist Alex Rivera, lithographs by Nelson Mandela reflecting on his years of imprisonment at Robben Island, and paintings by Felrath Hines. Each winter, the museum offers Durham’s Finest, an annual show displaying art created by students in Durham Public Schools. Late spring brings New Horizons, an annual juried exhibit of works by NCCU art students.
The museum’s permanent collection contains works by three major 19th-century African-American artists, Robert S. Duncanson, Edward M. Bannister and Henry Ossawa Tanner. The 20th century is represented by significant artists from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and the WPA period of the 1930s. Among them are Richmond Barthe, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett and Jacob Lawrence
Also of note are works by two folk/outsider artists, Clementine Hunter and Minnie Evans, and by two artists who were recipients of MacArthur Foundation “genius” grants, Robert Blackburn and Kerry James Marshall.
Exhibits are complemented by lectures and other educational programs.