Celebrating Black History through Art

February 05, 2024  |  by Cody Gohl   |  

In honor of this year's Black History Month theme "African Americans and the Arts," we gathered with community members of our Older Adults Program to create an art piece celebrating iconic Black trailblazers from Alvin Ailey to Muhammad Ali, Shirley Chisholm, and more. 

"At Food Bank's Neighborhood Community Center, we do activities throughout the year to help us honor and learn more about Black history," said Charles Martinez, Manager of Food Bank's Neighborhood Community Center. "This art piece in particular is great because it's a project we can all work on together to commemorate some pretty amazing leaders." 

Image (17)Community members working on a group art project at Food Bank's Community Kitchen & Food Pantry in Harlem. 

The piece was conceived by artist David Husney, who frequents Food Bank's Older Adults Program as a participant and volunteer. 

"Charles asked me if I wanted to do something for Black History Month, so I picked some of my favorite pioneers to highlight," Husney explained. "As people have been walking around the painting, they've been adding color to the canvas and talking about all the different leaders. It's as much a social event as an art project." 

For David, community art brings together people better than almost anything else can, especially when it's centered on celebrating and uplifting the history of a people. 

Image (15)David (left) with a fellow community member. 

While we're not quite sure where this beauty will hang in our Community Kitchen & Food Pantry just yet, we do know this won't be the last art project we work on with our older adults this year. 

"Having the ability to express yourself artistically through painting, through song, through dance is so important, which is why we regularly incorporate it into our programming," says Martinez. "Our art projects are always really popular with our community members, and they're also culturally relevant, allowing folks to explore their identities."

"Ultimately, working on an art project like this provides an organic way for people to get to know each other better and to share their knowledge and experiences with each other." 

Image (16)All are welcome to enjoy fun activities at our Neighborhood Community Center in Harlem! 

Food Bank For New York City's Older Adults Program provides a safe space for older New Yorkers to gather for fellowship, fun activities, and delicious food. Learn more about the program, here

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