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Harlem art gala allows artists of color to display work

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 22:34:59-04

HARLEM, Manhattan — Welcome to Harlem’s Hangnight.

It’s a chance for artists of color to showcase their works right on the street and it’s the brainchild of the Heath family after their patriarch was having trouble getting his work shown downtown.

“I tried to get into a Soho Gallery and I said if I ever own my own brownstone I will have a gallery on the first floor for everyone to show their art,” Thomas Heath said.

Heath, who is known as “the shirt man“ because of the paint splattered, one-of-a-kind t-shirts he creates, made good on his promise and opened the Heath Gallery in his brownstone on West 120th Street.

And then, when he painted the "m” and the “a” of “matter” in the Black Lives Matter mural on 126th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, Hangnight found a new home.

“Partnering with the Black Lives Matter movement it’s a celebration of art and community,” Saundra Heath, Thomas Heath’s wife and the Hangnight organizer, told PIX11 News.

For Seneya Nixon, Hangnight is a chance to display her hand painted tables and her photography.

“The whole aspect was to compare a rose to femininity and what they go through,” Nixon said.

Danielle Chery used real flowers, marbles, crystals and gold spray to create her painting.

“It focuses on the center of the world, Africa, and the different energies of the world,” Chery said.

And part of every hangnight is the artist talkback when the artist has a chance to talk about their work.

For Mark West, the artist explained why he used the images he does.

“Alot of my art is painted in blackface. People think of it with minstrels,” West told PIX11 News. “But it is really an ancient African Art form dating to 4,000 BC.

Hangnight also encourages expression of all kinds.

“Find the artist within yourself whether it’s poetry, dance, keep expanding what an artist means,” Kai Heath, an actress, told PIX11 News. Hangnight is held monthly.