YoloArts and Gallery 625 present: The Art of Soul

The Art of Soul, is a group exhibition featuring artwork focusing on the American experience through an African American lens. The show opens February 2 at YoloArts’ Gallery 625 in Woodland.

The exhibition is curated in partnership with Shonna McDaniels, Executive Director of the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum in Sacramento and includes the artwork of regional artists and pioneering legendary artists from throughout the Sacramento region.

Regional artists featured include Valerie Brown-Troutt, Mia Davis, Joha Harrison, Unity Lewis, Lee McCormick, Shonna McDaniels, Cedric Orange, Karen Seneferu, Malik Seneferu, Aliyah Sidqe, Gerry Simpson and Urban Sunshine.

Some of the exhibition’s artworks are on loan from the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum and include works by the late Dr. Samella Lewis and Elizabeth Catlett, and contemporary artists Milton Bowens, Alpha Bruton, Daphne Burgess, Nahosenay Negussie and TAFA. Unity Lewis, the grandson of Dr. Samella will loan an additional piece of his grandmother’s art to the exhibit.

The exhibit includes abstract and realistic paintings, works on paper, mixed media, and digital media.

The Art of Soul coincides with February’s Black History Month, annually honoring the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shaped the nation while celebrating the rich cultural heritage, triumphs, and adversities that are part of our country’s history.

The show’s title has a local history and is explained by Shonna McDaniels, “The title was used back in the early 1990s for a collaboration of Black artists that worked together to showcase a variety of art forms in the Black community. In 1990 the first Art of Soul festival celebrated the visual, performing, and theater arts at the old Radisson Hotel.”

In bringing this dynamic group of artists together, McDaniels was inspired by their work ethic and creative spirit and the work they are all doing in the community.

“YoloArts is thrilled to welcome back artist and activist Shonna McDaniels who had a solo show with us last year – and this time she has put together an incredible group of artists bringing their unique stories and styles,” says YoloArts’ Creative Director, Janice Purnell. “The show also includes pioneers of the Black artist movement, and we are excited to include these important historical perspectives.”

Many of the artists, and McDaniels, will be attending the opening reception, 5:30-8 p.m. Friday February 2, coinciding with the downtown Woodland First Friday event. Music will be provided by guitarist Kevin Welch from the band, Boca do Rio. Light refreshments and Yolo County wine will be available.

The Art of Soul artwork can also be viewed online at yoloarts.org/online-galleries.

The Art of Soul continues at Gallery 625 through April 2, 2024.

Gallery 625 hosts exhibitions and receptions every other month. New exhibitions typically open on the first Fridays of February, April, June, August, October, and December.

Gallery 625 is located at 625 Court Street in Woodland, in Yolo County’s Erwin Meier Administration building and is open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, contact YoloArts at 530-309-6464.

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