Celebrating Chicago and Harlem's connection to the arts

The Harlem Fine Arts Show (HFAS), the largest traveling African Diaspora art show and sale in the United States drew nearly 8,000 attendees during its four day run at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.   Artists from as far away as Brazil showcased the depth and breadth of African American art at the show and sale, including esteemed nationally recognized artists Woodrow Nash, Ted Ellis, Gerald Griffin and others.  

The show also provided a unique platform for younger artist to gain exposure  and the Chicago Artist Takeover featured some well known local arts talent. 

 “We are humbled by Chicago’s response to the show,” said Dion Clarke, founder of the Harlem Fine Art Show.  “Each day of the event had a unique flavor and appeal and we appreciate the outpouring of support we received.”

The show kicked off with an Opening Night Gala Reception benefitting the North Shore (IL) Chapter, The Links Incorporated.  The event also recognized leaders in the Chicago arts community and was emceed by award-winning television journalist and radio host Ed Gordon.

Friday was dubbed Youth Empowerment Day and nearly 1,500 Chicago Public School students descended on the Mart for guided tours of the show and the opportunity to interact with the artists.  A Salute to Multi-Cultural Business was held on Friday recognizing Veranda Dickens, Board Chair, Seaway Bank & Trust; Louis Dodd, Allstate Insurance Premier Agency; Merry Green, MGPG Events, Inc.; Monica Haslip, Executive Director Little Black Pearl; Norma J. Williams of NJW Consulting and media executive Abe Thompson also a minority owner of the Chicago Sky basketball team. Each honoree received a special rendered canvas by artist Andrew Nichols. 

Saturday’s Arts Lecture Series included artist panels featuring Faheem Majeed, Raymond Thomas, Roger CarterKeon ParsonsWilliam Hill and Ted Ellis. The day ended with an Halloween Masquerade Ball and Steppers Set hosted by Ken Bedford and Sam Chatman. 

Another highlight of the event was  “Discussions by the Lake”, a panel forum about real issues facing the African American community masterfully moderated by the esteemed Dr. Iva Carruthers, general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference.   Panelist were Maudlyne Ihejirika, award winning Chicago Sun Times reporter; Arlene Coleman, president of the Cook County Bar Association; artist Raymond Thomas, Rev. Gregory Seals Livingston and media personality Dometi Pongo.   The panel touched on issues of African American identity, family values, police brutality and community empowerment.


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Photo credits to Juan Anthony

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