Craig standing along side Otto Neals self-portrait at *Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba (Will House all ART MEDIUMS
New York City will celebrate the creative works of an artistic giant with a retrospective exhibition-taking place simultaneously at six distinguished galleries. Collectively, these institutions will house over five decades of works in five mediums created by the master Otto Neals, curated by Dr. Myrah Brown Green.
Craig with cousin Otto Neals at *Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba (Will House all ART MEDIUMS)
It was with great pleasure and admiration that Craig attended his cousin, Otto Neals’ exhibition.
Born in 1930 in South Carolina, Otto Neals is a world renowned, highly gifted painter, sculptor, and printmaker. When he was a child, his family moved to New York where he still lives and works. A Brooklynite, Neals first studied commercial art at George Westinghouse Vocational High School. He also studied briefly at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and at other institutions in the borough. In 1951 he took a job with the post office’s art department. He eventually became the head illustrator at the Brooklyn General Post Office, creating illustrations and overseeing projects in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island City.
Over decades, Neals emerged as one of the most respected visual artists in our lifetime. As a participant in the Black Arts movement he co-founded the historic Weusi Artist Collective and Nyumba Ya Sanaa Gallery in Harlem. In 1958 he took a lead role in assisting with establishing the Fulton Art Fair in Brooklyn. Neals has worked and exhibited with iconic masters, including Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, and Tom Feelings.
Neals’ work has been exhibited in distinguished institutions in the U.S. and abroad, including the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the Columbia Museum of Art, the Huntsville Museum of Art and the Ghana National Museum. His work is in the collections of Congressman John Lewis, legendary jazz musician Randy Weston, Harry Belafonte, and Oprah Winfrey. The media has recognized Neals’ profound talent: he has been profiled in numerous outlets including The New York Times, EBONY magazine, Black Enterprise. You can read an article printed in 2011 in the NY Daily News
Neals has won many awards and in 1995, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Alliance commissioned him to create a bronze sculpture based on the works of award-winning children’s book author Ezra Jack Keats. The work, Peter and Willie, is located in the “Imagination Playground” in Prospect Park. Mr. Neals was presented with the New York City Arts Commission’s Award for Excellence in Design for this work. Other commissions include 10 bronze plaques for the “Harlem Walk of Fame,” a bronze sculpture for the Brooklyn Children’s Center, a 20-foot mural for Kings County Hospital, and most recently a bronze portrait of the late Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton for City College of the City University of New York.
About his art, Neals says, “My talent as an artist comes directly from my ancestors. I am merely a receiver, an instrument for receiving some of the energies that permeate our entire universe and I give thanks for having been chosen to absorb those artistic forces.”
His work is also being shown at other galleries, such as
*Tabla Rasa Gallery (Will House PAINTINGS)
224 48th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
553 Rogers Avenue near Fenimore Street
*The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College in partnership with
The Charles Evans Inniss Memorial Library at Medgar Evers College (Will House PRINTS)
1650 Bedford Avenue between Montgomery and Crown Streets
1368 Fulton Street between Kingston and Throop Avenues
526 West 26th Street, Suite #311 between 10th and 11th Avenues