Howard University Receives Grant to Launch Online Gallery of African and African-American Art on March 1 featuring Exhibit Honoring David Driskell

Press Release | Written by Imani Pope-Johns

WASHINGTON – The Howard University Gallery of Art has been awarded the IMLS CARES Act Grant of $175,641 to fund the development of its virtual services to offer accessibility to those viewing or studying art in storage or on exhibit. The first exhibit, “In Great Company: David C. Driskell and Howard University,” will honor the scholar, artist, and professor David C. Driskell (1931-2020). The exhibit will be live on March 1 for virtual viewing at

This exhibition draws primarily from the Howard Gallery’s permanent collection, supplemented by archival materials from the David C. Driskell Papers at the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park and other sources. It is presented in conjunction with the Art Department’s memorial tribute and was curated by Abby R. Eron, Ph.D., Howard Gallery Registrar. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 

“I am so grateful for the IMLS CARES Grant, which addresses the documentation and dissemination of the Howard University collection of African and African-American art – one of the finest of its kind in the world and, ironically, one of the least known. This grant will go far in helping us to share the amazing Howard University art collection with the world,” said Lisa Farrington, Ph.D., associate dean of the Department of Fine Arts. 

Since the pandemic, the arts are known to be a good escape and important to youth and young adult education, shares Farrington. “Statistically, students who study the arts outperform those who don’t in all subject areas, including math and science.” 

The Gallery of Art, planned to be fully available by Spring 2022, will expand research opportunities with the new collection in a public-facing database. Virtual visitors of the gallery will be able to see new digital images of the collections and interact with the new 3-D virtual museum spaces. There will also be new educational programming that will include virtual exhibitions and curatorial lectures. 

Farrington is excited about developing the virtual capabilities of the Gallery of Art to the greater public because of its benefits, noting that “we cannot allow the pandemic to disconnect us from art, which is the truest, most lasting expression of our humanity.” 

“The arts activate the right brain – the seat of creativity and innovation,” Farrington continued. “In the words of Albert Einstein, ‘Creativity is more important than knowledge because knowledge is what we already know, but creativity embraces the universe.’ Furthermore, we would know nothing of the great civilizations, such as ancient Egypt, if they did not create art and architecture.” 

Go to the Newsroom article from the Office of University Communications

Portrait photograph of David C. Driskell in studio