On Juneteenth, CSMOA celebrates the art of Charles Mills

On Juneteenth, CSMOA celebrates the art of Charles Mills

By FIORELLA LAVENA
CORAL SPRINGS MUSEUM OF ART | JUNE 19, 2020 | 10:45 AM

Photographic Portrait of the Artist by Ronald Warner

Today is #Juneteenth, and we commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States of America in 1865.
African American culture and history are an important part of the history of this nation. The Museum would like to honor the achievements of a wonderful local artist by the name of Charles Mills.

Charles was born in December of 1920 in New York City and grew up in Harlem. He was keen on learning about his roots and cultural history and spent much of his time reading a collection of books on the second floor the 135th street library in Harlem. That collection of books ultimately became the Schomberg Collection and is now housed in the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, the nation’s first African-American research library.

“Alberta Hunter” black & white scratchboard, 11″x14″, Collection of the Alberta Hunter Estate

 

He served in the United States Army and after completing his service, worked as a medical illustrator at the VA Medical Center in Brooklyn. This “Brought out the art in him” according to his daughter. He spent two decades designing and illustrating medical books. He started creating fine art after taking classes at The Career School of Commercial Illustration and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

Charles Moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1985, and taught at our very own Museum! He created a mural at the entrance to Sistrunk Boulevard in his adopted hometown. This mural is considered his greatest work, telling the story of the African-American experience from slavery to modern times.

 

He was honored by the Jim Moran Foundation in 2009 as an African-American Achiever for his six decades of painting and his focus on the African-American experience.

“History Wall” – Located on Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Charles Mills passed away on October 20, 2009, but not without influencing a generation of South Floridans.

“The Duke” acrylic on canvas, 24″x 30″, collection of Dr. Venessa G. Niles

“Lester Young” collage, 20″x 24″, collection of the City of Hollywood, FL

“Ife Head with Avocados” acrylic on canvas, 16″x 20″

“Marcus Garvey” mixed media on arches paper, 24″x 32″

 

 

 

 

 

“Melon Slices” – Lithograph Offset Print- 27.5″ x 20″ – Part of the Museum’s Permanent Collection

 

Sources:
(1)”Charles Mills – Artist/Illustrator -2004 – Self Published Exhibition Booklet
(2)Wikipedia – Charles Mills 
(3) South Florida Sun-Sentinel – Charles Mills, Painter of Black History, Culture
(4) Broward Palm Beach New Times – With a Very Wide View of History: Charles Mills and the Twentieth Century

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