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Artistic gems on display at Baltimore's Morgan State University

James E. Lewis Museum of Art
James E. Lewis Museum of Artby Vickie M. Oliver-Lawson

Baltimore contains many hidden gems. On Friday February 28, 2014, this writer had the privilege of exploring a museum located on the southeast campus of Morgan State University. Named for a sculptor, archaeologist and art historian, the James E. Lewis Museum of Art is housed inside the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center.

The James Edward Lewis Museum of Art has permanent as well as new collections. There are various media such as paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, lithographs, collages, prints and photographs.

One such exhibit features African American Master Artists and is on display from February 1 - April 1, 2014. The diverse works contained in this part of the museum spans two centuries. The artists include Romare Bearden, Benny Andrews, Sam Gilliams, William T. Williams, Lois Mailou Jones, Gordon Parks, Robert Houston, Jacob Lawrence, Henry O. Tanner and Carlton Leverette, to name a few.

Another section of the museum features 'Indigenous Art From Africa to Oceana'. The works in this collection include art representative of Ghana, Mali, New Guinea, Nigeria, Liberia and Cote D'Ivoire.

Many of the exhibits are cultural and/or religious in nature or are representative of the cycle of life.

One work of art which caught this writer's eye was a 2008 lithograph entitled, "200 Years", by Allan L. Edmunds. The red, yellow, green and black colors blended together to depict a slave ship, Dr. Martin Luther King and President Barack Obama. Throughout the lithograph were the names of various famous African Americans, along with the words, 'Hopes and Dreams."

The staff was very accommodating, in the absence of the director, Gabriel S. Tenabe, who has been at the helm of the museum since its opening ten years ago.

The James E. Lewis Museum of Art is free and open to the public: Tuesday through Friday from 10AM - 4PM, Saturday from 11AM - 4PM and Sunday from noon - 4PM.

The museum's website is www.jelmamuseum.org.