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This book is a written account of what October Gallery (OG) means to us. We attempted to unfold the saga of how OG evolved over time. In addition we queried patrons and artists alike: "What is the value of African American art to you?" Their personal responses, interesting and insightful, are included throughout our story. Both our national and international patrons and artists have witnessed (first hand) the creation and development of the African American art industry, which prior to the 1970s was almost non-existent. This group of patrons and artists are part of what we call "BlackStream Renaissance". Most African American artists market and exhibit in the African American community. Successful African American art festivals and expos, where artists sell and exhibit, recognize the importance of marketing to this special community. It is in this community where the strength and the value of African American art begins. It is this community that has provided the foundation for Blackstream Renaissance. It is this community that has given us the content, the material, the stories for "Connecting People with Art". This book recognizes the pioneers of Blackstream Renaissance.
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Native Philadelphian Mercer Redcross, III co-founded the October Gallery with his wife, Evelyn, 21 years ago. The gallery s first location was in the Powelton Village section of Philadelphia. Today, October Gallery is located downtown in Olde City where it continues to promote African American art, artists and consumer education. The Redcrosses have always been collectors. Their initial interests included Lionel model trains, antique clocks and traditional art. Later, they became passionate advocates of African-American art. In 1985 this new fervor stirred a special kind of excitement for them. It led to the creation of a new art gallery in Philadelphia that they alled, October Gallery. They understood that art is an ideal medium to communicate culture, history and broad human experiences. Together they strive to make art and art education accessible to all people. Connecting People with Art, has been their mantra for years. This book reveals their stories and numerous art adventures, as well as it chronicles the experiences of many others whom they met along the way. Mercer Redcross III graduated from Cheyney University with a BS in Economics. Then, he earned a Masters of Business Administration from Eastern University. Evelyn Redcrosss graduated from Temple University with a BS in Psychology. Then she earned a Masters in Journalism from Temple University. They reside in Philadelphia, PA. They have three children and three grandchildren.Review:
"The book is amazing," said Walter Shannon, who owns The Famous E&S Gallery, 108 S. 10th St., with his wife, Cathy. "I think it does a great job of researching black art into the 21st century, and helps expose a lot of newer artists, and a lot of dealers who have made these artists successful. It gets into Alonzo Adams and William Tolliver and Paul Goodnight but also has Joshua Johnson, Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence." --Courier Journal, Louisville, KY
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