Morris County Jumps “Into the Light” on Juneteenth
Published on June 18, 2021
Virtual Exhibit of African American Art Sponsored By Morris County Commissioners & Art in the Atrium
New Jersey’s first Juneteenth observation is being celebrated by the Morris County Board of County Commissioners and Art in the Atrium (ATA) with a virtual exhibit and sale of African American art entitled “Into the Light,” which goes live tomorrow, June 19.
“Into the Light” is the title of the Juneteenth celebratory exhibit as well as the title of the signature piece on display there – a colorful representation of an African American woman as Lady Liberty. It was created by multi-media artist Rosalind Nzinga Nichol, who is featured in the exhibit and explained that the title of her work and the virtual art exhibit emerged simultaneously.
View the Promo Video: See sneak peeks of the exhibit with commentary by featured multi-media artist Rosalind Nzinga Nichol, welcoming introductions by Commissioner Director Stephen Shaw and ATA Executive Director Lauren LeBeaux Craig, and remarks on Juneteenth by Commissioner John Krickus.
“It’s not about liberty. It’s about having more clarity of vision,” said Nichol. “It was important to us to not keep taking things back to the 60s, keep taking things back to liberty or the end of slavery. It’s like, we’ve moved on, way on beyond that. We had to put it into the context of today, and that is where the title ‘Into the Light’ came from.”
The exhibit is FREE and may be viewed at artintheatrium.org beginning 3 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at the same time Art in the Atrium will be hosting a kick-off program outside the Artist Baker in Morristown, N.J. that may be attended in person or watched on Zoom at:
“Juneteenth is truly an important event in American history. We are celebrating June 19, 1865, two months after the Civil War ended, when Union General Gordon Granger delivered the news to enslaved communities in Texas that they were now free," said Morris County Commissioner John Krickus. This was two years after Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that all those who were held as slaves were forever free. So please join us in viewing "Into the Light," and the Morris County Board of Commissioners and Art in the Atrium as we celebrate the first Juneteenth in New Jersey."
President Joe Biden signed a bill yesterday declaring June 19 to be Juneteenth National Independence Day, a federal holiday. Juneteenth was initially celebrated only in the South, primarily in Texas, by freed slaves beginning June 19, 1866. New Jersey first celebrated it as a state holiday this year.
“Into the Light,” which will run virtually through Oct. 22, is being co-sponsored by Art in the Atrium, which also is sponsoring a physical exhibit at the Morris Museum called: “The Social Fabric: Black Artistry in Fiber Arts, An Exhibition in Homage to Viki Craig.”
“Art in the Atrium was founded 29 years ago by Victoria Craig and Charles Craig, my parents. … It’s a nonprofit, volunteer organization with a mission to educate and exhibit African American fine art right here in lovely Morristown, New Jersey,” said Lauren LeBeaux Craig, Executive Director of ATA. "Art in the Atrium is thrilled to open our virtual art exhibit, “Into the Light,” to coincide with the celebration of Juneteenth. We are proud to be a part of Morris County's rich Black history and legacy and we are grateful to the Morris County Commissioners for recognizing our contribution to the community."
Art in the Atrium was born in the atrium of the Morris County Administration Building on Court Street, Morristown, where four floors of African American art exhibits have been offered over the years. It is the largest exhibit of its kind in New Jersey, and past exhibits have featured such artists as David Driskell, Willie Cole, Deborah Willis, Benny Andrews, Elizabeth Catlett, Bisa Butler, Janet Taylor Pickett and Faith Ringgold. In 2001 and again in 2016, ATA was named "Arts Organization of the Year" by Morris Arts.
ATA offered its first virtual exhibit and sale last year during the pandemic, but Morris County plans to reopen the atrium to art exhibits in 2022.
Top Right: "Into the Light" by Rosalind Nzinga Nichol
Center Left: "Nighttime Light" by Antoinette Ellis-Williams
Bottom Right: "Now is The Time" by Leroy Campbell