Gallery Hours

Thursday 3pm – 8pm
Friday 3pm – 8pm
Saturday 12pm – 5pm
Sunday 12pm – 5pm

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center boasts a wide range of dynamic exhibition and educational spaces that have hosted thousands of talents artists and creative students of all ages and backgrounds. Within recent past, acclaimed visual artists who have showcased their works include Hebru Brantley, Romare Bearden, Latoya Ruby Frazier, Vanessa German, Tarish Pipkins, Peju Alatise, and many more.

AWAACC Galleries remain free and open to the public.

Current Exhibitions

Minding My Business (i said what i said)

Exhibition Dates: May 22 – September 12, 2021

Minding My Business (i said what i said) features five women of color exploring self-authorship as a means to liberated futures. What does emancipation look like for many women within a contemporary mindset? What is the true power of unlearning the societal and intergenerational patterns of self-sacrifice and leaning into self-love instead? Each work defines freedom in its own truth by acts of service, community, ritual and spacemaking through photography, video and works on paper.

Featuring Rabea Ballin, Krista Franklin, Deun Ivory, Tonika Lewis Johnson, Pia Love, Natalie Lauren Sims, and SHAN Wallace. Curated by Janice Bond and Sadie Woods.


Saturday, June 19 at 6:00pm ET – Youtube

  • Artist Performance: NuHymes/Black Liberatory Practices

Multidisciplinary artist Frewuhn presents a musical timeline of performance and dialogue surrounding present-future notions of protest and practices of freedom. She engages liberatory practice in performance to contextualize freedom through cross pollinating music of black pride with nu-hymns.

Thursday, July 8 at 5:00pm ET – August Wilson African American Cultural Center


Led by Baltimore-native photographer, artist and archivist SHAN Wallace and Pittsburgh-based artist and administrator Jessica Gaynelle Moss, CREATING BLACK AUTONOMOUS SPACES will investigate the past and imagine the future of Black Autonomous Spaces through an examination of Wallace’s most recent body of work, The Avenue.

Thursday, August 12 at 1:00pm ET – Instagram Live via @augustwilsonculturalcenter

  • Artist Talk: Under the Knife

Poet and visual artist Krista Franklin joins librarian, author and curator Tracie Hall to explore storytelling, memory, family histories and excerpts from Franklin’s recent publication Under the Knife.

Thursday, September 9 at 1:00pm ET – Instagram Live via @augustwilsonculturalcenter

  • Artist talk: The Body Tells A Story

Dancer and choreographer Pia Love and multi-sensory storyteller Natalie Lauren Sims share performance practices to explore movement, rest and restoration as forms of liberatory practices.

Artist Bios

Rabea Ballin, who was born in Germany, raised in Louisiana and is now a Houston-based artist, earned her BFA in design at McNeese State University and her MFA in drawing and painting at the University of Houston. Her multi-disciplinary works explore the uniqueness of self-identity, hair politics, and social commentary. She documents these themes primarily through drawing, digital photography and various printmaking practices. In addition to working as an independent artist, she is a member of the all-female ROUX printmaking collective. Ballin has served as an artist board member at both Art League Houston and DiverseWorks, and has completed residencies at DiverseWorks, Tougaloo College and Project Row Houses.

Krista Franklin is a writer and visual artist, the author of Too Much Midnight (Haymarket Books, 2020), the artist book Under the Knife (Candor Arts, 2018), and the chapbook Study of Love & Black Body (Willow Books, 2012). She is a Helen and Tim Meier Foundation for the Arts Achievement Awardee, and a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Her visual art has exhibited at Poetry Foundation, Konsthall C, Rootwork Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Studio Museum in Harlem, Chicago Cultural Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, and the set of 20th Century Fox’s Empire. She has been published in Poetry, Black Camera, The Offing, Vinyl, and a number of anthologies and artist books.

Deun IvoryDeun Ivory, free to roam., 2018 & Deun Ivory, I am, simi, 2018

Deun Ivory is an LA-based director, photographer and creative wellness designer who creates and curates visual experiences centered around storytelling, self-love, and self-empowerment for black women. As a multidisciplinary artist who has photographed for Apple, Nike, Glossier, CRWN Mag’s cover of Issa Rae, and has worked as the art director for Black Girl in Om—Ivory has carved her own lane as a rare breed regarding her ability to effortlessly express her vision through various creative mediums. Ivory is the founder and creative director of the body: a home for love, a wellness non-profit shifting culture around how black women heal from sexual trauma that has received recognition and press coverage from Vogue, Essence Magazine, Glamour, Refinery29 and more.

Tonika Lewis JohnsonTonika Lewis Johnson, Crown Royal, 2016 & Tonika Lewis Johnson, Sunday Service, 2016

Tonika Johnson is a photographer and life-long resident of Chicago’s South Side. She is also co-founder of two community-based organizations, Englewood Arts Collective and Resident Association of Greater Englewood, that seek to reframe the narrative of South Side communities and mobilize people and resources for positive change. Within her artistic practice, Johnson often explores urban segregation and documents the nuance and richness of the black community, countering pervasive media depictions of Chicago’s violence and crime. She has been recognized by Chicago Magazine as a Chicagoan of the Year in 2017 and was named one of Field Foundation’s Leaders for a New Chicago and appointed as a member of the Cultural Advisory Council of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events by the Chicago City Council in 2019.

Pia Love is a gifted dancer who has traveled the world exploring healing, culture, gender roles and spirituality through visual storytelling. She’s a celebrated performer, who has toured the world, made tv appearances and won national competitions. Amongst her many talents she produces breathtaking dance videos, often drawing inspiration from her African spirituality. Currently living in Puerto Rico, Love’s work often features her tropical environment such as the rainforest, mountains, endless seascapes and riverbeds. She’s currently producing a multimedia project called – Sacred Puta, which challenges Eurocentric patriarchal structures and dares to re-imagine the world (along with our collective religious history) where women can own their sexuality and still be revered saintly.

Natalie Lauren Sims is a musician, visual artist, writer, and music executive from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her art is an homage created to disrupt the silence and the monolithic identity seeking to oppress black women by creating safe spaces for black women to explore the fullness of their humanity found in radical being instead of consistent doing. On her journey as an interdisciplinary artist, she has been instrumental in contributing to Grammy award-winning music and platinum-selling artists, all while directing visual pieces that have won the applause of TIME magazine and their peers. Currently, she is the founder and leader of Native Creative, a boutique creative agency for independent artists, and Curios Green, a 501 (c)3 non-profit re-imaging therapy for African American teens through the intersection of horticulture and environmental art.

SHAN WallaceSHAN Wallace, Hemmings Tavern, 2020 & SHAN Wallace, Rest Enough Mother, 2020

SHAN Wallace is a nomadic award-winning visual artist, photographer, and educator from East Baltimore, MD. Inspired by the nuances of day-to-day life of her surroundings in Baltimore, not as fixed narratives but a multiplicity of experiences. It was in Baltimore where she learned about the importance of service, the power of collaboration and the effects of social change. Now, she uses her lens, collage and in situ installations as the basis of her work, demonstrating the cultural and political narratives of black life, confronting oppressive politics and histories within communities of the African diaspora, and challenging ideas surrounding existing collections, culture and archives of Blackness. Much of Wallace’s work is focused on the Archive– its history of development, challenges of the modern Archive, Archive as Artwork and how to ethically accumulate primary source documents.

Performer Bios

Frewuhn Singer-Songwriter, Franchelle Lucas known as “Frewuhn,” was born in Houston, Texas, surrounded by a collage of musical inspiration. Sonically, she embodies a peaceful flow and ambient strength. She is heavily influenced by 90s rock, R&B, country, and artists like Res, Santigold, and Stevie Nicks. Her love of the sacred wisdom of folk songs, the blues, and gospel is coupled with her first love of music found in church where she gained her initial performance experience. Her background in Theology and performance influenced her production of The Color of Frequency lyric poetry book and the SoundLab sonic experiment. Frewuhn made her debut in 2008, singing with Alternative soul outfit Neon Collars, and has performed as a backing vocalist for many artists including CeCe Winans, and Solange. She released her first solo project Stupid Carnival in 2018. Frewuhn is a messenger who encourages listeners to go beyond the simplicity of her narratives to encourage freedom and healing from within.

Lynnée Denise was shaped as a DJ by her parent’s record collection. She’s an artist, scholar, and writer whose work reflects on underground cultural movements, the 1980s, migration studies, theories of escape, and electronic music of the African Diaspora. Denise coined the phrase ‘DJ Scholarship’ to re-position the role of the DJ from a party purveyor to an archivist, cultural custodian and information specialist of music with critical value. Through interactive workshops, lectures and presentations at universities, conferences and performance venues, Denise harnesses music as a medium for vital public dialogue on how to transform the way that music of the Black Atlantic is understood in its social context and beyond entertainment.


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