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These articles were excerpted from Tapestry, a weekly newsletter that examines the arts and entertainment world in Charlotte and North Carolina.

A Marvelous Black Boy Art Show comes to Charlotte

Black Boy Art Show - group photo.JPEG
A Marvelous Black Boy Art Show is in Charlotte for the first time on Jan.15, 2023.

A Marvelous Black Boy Art Show exhibit will kick off its national tour this year in Charlotte on Sunday to celebrate Black male artists. For the first time in the Queen City, about 40 artists will have a chance to display their work.

Joshua Dingle curated the first exhibit in Atlanta in 2019. Now, A Marvelous Black Boy Art Show is expected to hit 20 cities this year. Dingle designed the exhibition to create a pathway for Black male artists in the industry.

“Black male artists are underrepresented in museum and gallery spaces, and so this is really me creating my own door instead of waiting for a door to be opened up,” Dingle said.


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A Marvelous Black Boy Art Show was inspired by A Spectacular Black Girl Art Show that Dingle started about four years ago in a church basement with 15 Black female artists he feltwere going unrecognized. He said it was essential for the show’s title to include wording that highlights the identity of Black people.

“I wanted to set the expectation for what you’re going to receive when you get there is a spectacular time, is a marvelous time,” Dingle said. “[I] really, really want people to have that expectation coming in. We want them to see marvelous work, we want them to feel marvelous and it’s really a term that like empowers the artists.”

Joshua - Founder of Black Boy Art Show.jpg
Spencer Hopkins
Joshua Dingle (right) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the founder of A Marvelous Black Boy Art Show.

Cameron Lewis is an artist from Charleston, South Carolina, whose work will be featured in the show. Lewis describes his art as “street luxury,” centered around pop culture and music. He uses oil, acrylic and spray paint to create his pieces, with sprinkles of crushed glass to set his work apart and for added effect.

“When the light hits a piece, and it has the crushed glass on it, it’s like you’re looking at stars, man. It makes the piece shine,” Lewis said. “I think that’s what gives it that luxury feel. Because although it may be street art, it may be graffiti, when that crushed glass hits the light, man, it just shines; it shines like diamonds.”

Cameron Lewis - photo 1.jpg
Daniella Brunetti
Cameron Lewis’ 36 x 48 portrait of Notorious B.I.G. took about five hours to complete.

Lewis’ large portrait of rapper Notorious B.I.G., filtered with crushed glass, is one of the pieces he attributes to Jean-Michel Basquiat, an Afro-Carribean American artist from New York regarded for his graffiti-style painting. Lewis expects to have about30 pieces at the show. He said the event allows artists to look within themselves and asks what drives them.

“As Black artists, sometimes we can get lost in the sauce. When we start making money, when we start doing good, we can forget about those who may again not have the opportunity,” Lewis said. “But again, Black Boy gives everyone that opportunity to shine, and so, that’s my goal. The reason I paint is to not only grow but to give back and help others grow as well. So, I would ask them, ‘why do you paint?’”

The exhibition is set to take place this weekend at the Charlotte Art League located at 4237 Raleigh St. from 3 to 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online here.

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Elvis Menayese is a Report for America corps member covering issues involving race and equity for WFAE. He previously was a member of the Queens University News Service. Major support for WFAE's Race & Equity Team comes from Novant Health and Wells Fargo.