RALEIGH, N.C. – As part of its annual Homecoming celebration activities, Shaw University will host an artwork unveiling to showcase art being gifted to the university by artist Steve R. Allen. Allen was the official artist for eight Olympic games and has five artworks featured in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture Founding and Permanent Collection. The unveiling will take place in Estey Hall Auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 5 p.m.
Dr. Paulette Dillard, president of Shaw University, said: “Shaw University is honored to receive this priceless gift of art from North Carolina native son Steve Allen, and we’re excited to be included among the group of HBCUs that will benefit from his generous gift, which embodies the power and value of Black art. We’re also pleased that Mr. Allen is using this opportunity during our Homecoming 2021 to pay tribute to his mother, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Bowden Allen Johnson, a Shaw University alumna.”
Throughout his career, Allen has noted the lack of diverse representation on the business side of art. His HBCU gifting initiative serves as social commentary on the financial value of Black art in American culture and is a demand for equity among Black people in the business of art.
Allen said: “This gift, along with those that follow, aligns with my mission to expose the variety of visual contributions of African American artists to students, scholars and collectors and, moreover, to demand equity for my brothers and sisters in the business of art. My intention is to strengthen the position of Black institutions as innovative places for teaching art and revealing its power and financial value. I cannot think of a better way to honor my mother, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Bowden Allen Johnson, an alumna of Shaw University, and brother Arthur Lee Allen’s, legacies than by providing Black and other audiences around the country with access to these artworks.”
Shaw University, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the first historically Black institution of higher education in the South and among the oldest in the nation. The University was founded in 1865 by Henry Martin Tupper. Dr. Paulette Dillard currently serves as the University’s 18th President. For more information, visit: www.shawu.edu – or to view the Homecoming 2021 schedule, visit homecoming.shawu.edu