Bed-Stuy Arts Fair Seeks ‘Black Resistance’ Art

BED-STUY, BROOKLYN — A heralded Brooklyn arts organization is calling for submissions for art on the theme of Black Resistance.

The Fulton Art Fair, a Bed-Stuy based arts organization celebrating its 65th year this summer, is planning to use the artwork in its Black History Month show in February at the Skyblue Design Gallery at 1766 Bergen St., between Ralph and Buffalo Avenues.

Artists are asked to inquire about submissions via email by January 18.

Fulton Art Fair president Larry Weekes says the art could be about either contemporary Black resistance or use historic references.

Weekes, a mixed-media artist himself, says that he’s planning on doing a piece on Nat Turner, a Virginia-based preacher and slave who led one of the most successful southern slave rebellions in 1831.

“It’s however the artist interprets it,” Weekes told Patch.

Weekes also runs Skyblue Design Gallery on the parlor floor of his Weeksville home, which allows the Fulton Art Fair, traditionally an outdoor gallery, to hold shows during less hospitable times of the year.

The Fulton Art Fair, Brooklyn’s oldest Black arts event, is a multi-day juried art exhibition that has featured the work of establish and emerging artists side by side inside Bed-Stuy’s Robert Fulton Park.

In 1958, local funeral home owner Shirley Hawkins, who wanted to see a more positive portrayal of Bed-Stuy, founded the fair, Weekes said.

“African American artists then did not have places to hang their artwork and to show their work,” Weekes told Patch, “and so they came out to Robert Fulton Park and hung their artwork on the fence and showed the public the creativity that comes from the neighborhood.”

This summer’s art fair will be at its 65th year.

Many prominent artists, like Otto Neals — who at 91 still attends nearly every Fulton Art Fair show, said Weekes — and the late Ernest Critchlow became involved early on with the organization. Popular local artists, like Floyd Sapp, also have deep involvement with the group.

“We’re continuing that legacy,” Weekes said, “and also looking to be building upon it.”

Recently, Weekes said the Fulton Art Fair has been working to expand its exposure by putting on more shows across the city, with shows in Harlem, Jamaica and even in Newark.

“That’s one of our one of our main functions is to educate [people] about art history and the legacy of Fulton Art Fair,” Weekes said.

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