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Buying Masters for the First Family

Misty Brown | 5/28/2009, 12:34 a.m.

In €Masters for the First Family,€ the Parish Gallery€"Georgetown presents an exhibition of art, by African American artists, to the First Family in the White House.

The Parish Gallery, operating for the past 18 years, features 22 paintings and sculptures in this exhibit.

€I was once told, €a country is not distinguished by the wars it wins or the way it cares for the poor, but by the art that it produces,€€ said Parish, a painter himself. €The diversity of the master artists I have selected is of impeccable quality. This exhibition is to present these artists who have made significant contributions to American culture. Most have been overlooked by the major art world. This is the first of a series.€

The exhibit includes pieces from 19th century artist Edward Mitchell Banister (1828-1901), who was the first Black to be recognized as an American regionalist painter, contemporary artist Martha Jackson-Jarvis (b. 1952) who has mastered the primordial medium of clay for installations, and landscape painter Richard Mayhew.

Others artists featured include Sam Gilliam, Edward Clark, Joe Overstreet, Richard Hunt, Herbert Gentry, William T. Williams, Camille Billops, Benny Andrews, James A. Porter, Lois Mailou Jones, Elizabeth Catlett, Evangeline J. Montgomery and Norman Lewis.

€Over the years, Parish [Gallery] has consistently introduced collectors to many genres of art, and importantly, their unique role in establishing the value of art,€ said Sandy Bellamy, former executive director at Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore who now heads the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Art collectors trust the Parish Gallery to produce quality exhibits.

€Parish Gallery has been an invaluable institution in the Washington, D.C. visual arts community since its inception€"consistently presenting exciting works from a broad spectrum of artists at varying career levels,€ said collector Juliette Bethea.

The show opened Fri., May 15 and runs until Tues., June 16. The gallery is located at 1054 31st St., Northwest in Georgetown. For more information visit www.parishgallery.com or call 202-944-1320.