Kofi Annon, the illustrious Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, once said we may have different religions, different languages, and different colored skin, but we all belong to the human race. In honor of Black History Month, the Lemoyne Arts Center is presenting the “Joy & Excellence” exhibit to celebrate Black culture and Black art.
The exhibit showcases local and regional artists of color like Donald Davis and Lei Snelling, but also displays Florida A&M University’s very own, Professor Stanley Johnson.
Growing up in the small town of Quincy, Johnson found his love of art simply by doodling in a sketchbook.
“I always say, ‘God gave me the stability,’” Johnson said, who explains that after drawing for so long, it came naturally to him.
In Johnson’s senior year of high school, his father gave him a camera for fun. At the time, he never paid attention to all the photo albums that surrounded his home. Slowly but surely, Johnson started taking photos of friends, family and events but didn’t take photography seriously until much later.
College life isn’t always peaches and cream. For Professor Johnson, it was a struggle to find what he was truly passionate for at that time in his life.
“I was one of those people who were trying to find themselves and changed my major numerous times,” Johnson said.
Soon enough he met an instructor, Dallas Williams, at Florida A&M University. Williams helped him acknowledge his interest in screen printing. Williams took the time to show Johnson the ends and outs of screen printing. Opportunities to make flyers and drawings for others was a revolving door, Johnson even opened a business called, “Fresh T’s.”
Johnson combined his love of photography and screen printing by creating his own photography business and teaching as an adjunct instructor for Graphic Communication at FAMU.
After taking a couple of steps into the gallery, guests will see the exhibit is widely spread out with colorful pieces of art.
Chloe Patterson, an Art History major and volunteer at Lemoyne Arts Museum, said Johnson’s work has brought in so many young local artists.
“There hasn’t been that many people coming here before and now so many people have been coming to see the photos,” Patterson said. “I think it’s an outreach to the community and it’s good for everybody.”
Johnson has an archive full of photos from different moments in time. Normally he loves taking portraits of people to see them smile and capture the beauty in individuals.
“The photo I like the best is the woman in the museum image,” Johnson said. “She was very expressive and joyous, filled with laughter.”
This exhibit is a space for people of color to celebrate identity, culture, and self-expression as we continue to work towards equality. This exhibit is a great way for residents of Tallahassee to see the talent of members in the community.
Zaria McCray, FAMU student, said the Stan Johnson photos made her smile.
“At first I didn’t know what to expect walking in today but after leaving I can say I’m pleased,” McCray said. “I like how the artwork demonstrates different expressions and has a variety of meanings.”
Lemoyne Arts located at 125 N. Gadsden Street is operating Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm. For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.