Ongoing Exhibits



Facing The Rising Sun presents the remnants of a once-thriving North Dallas Community.  Facing the Rising Sun contains photographs, found objects, and historical documents that provide an insight into a community called Freedman’s Town and later known as short North Dallas and now known as Uptown.  Interactive video kiosks allow visitors to see and hear from the people who knew Freedman’s Town first-hand.

Reintroducing the Sam & Ruth Bussey Art Gallery | Imagination and Materiality: The Power of Memory and Storytelling in Black Art

Reinstalled November 2023

The AAM, Dallas has one of the largest collections of African American folk art in the country.  The Billy R. Allen Folk Art Collection, named for a founding board member, has grown to include more than 500 objects.  Dr. Warren and Sylvia Lowe of Lafayette, Louisiana, Sally Griffiths and Dr. Bobby Alexander of Dallas, Texas have been major contributors.  Pieces from the collection are rotated, twice each year, in the Sam and Ruth Bussey Gallery.  Artists include Clementine Hunter, Mose Tolliver, Reverend Johnnie Swearingen, David Butler, Sister Gertrude Morgan, and Isaac Smith to name a few.

The Decorative Arts Collection consists of objects as early as the late 18th century.  Some items are an 1824 coverlet; five pieces crafted between 1840-1850 by the legendary North Carolina furniture maker, Thomas Day (1820-1860); an 1888 crazy quilt; an 1830 slave made desk from San Augustine, Texas; and ceramics by Carroll Harris Simms, Co-founder of the Texas Southern University Art Department and Sandy Besser African Basket Collection.  Also included is a silver teaspoon made by Peter Bentzon (1783-1850).

Current Exhibits

NOVEMBER 9, 2023 – MAY 30, 2024

The thirty-four photographs of East Texas and early Dallas neighborhoods by Alan Govenar interrogate the sense of place the legendary singer Blind Lemon Jefferson lyricized and illuminate the environment where he was born and lived. Govenar’s compelling photographs are characterized by chromatic elegance and depth. They are different than traditional photographic landscapes and are designed to capture the sublime in the ordinary, immortalizing the pristine and uncharted territories of the earth.

NOVEMBER 11, 2023 – MAY 31, 2024

This exhibition focuses on the importance of blues, jazz, and other musical traditions in developing the African-American community in the area, once called Freedman’s Town. Known as Old North Dallas from the 1920s to the 1980s, this area connected to  Deep Ellum via Central Avenue during its heyday. In the neighborhood spoking off from Central Avenue was a vibrant African American community and a diverse array of black-owned businesses, including shoeshine stands and street vendors as well as a variety of vaudeville theaters, record shops, cafes and, most notably,  the Knights of Pythias Temple at 2551 Elm Street. The K or P Temple provided offices for doctors, dentists, lawyers, and other African-American professionals. It also housed a ballroom that allowed African Americans to have weddings,  parties, and other social events.

Upcoming Exhibits

Past Exhibits

‘If You Look Hard Enough, You Can See Our Future’
Selections of Contemporary South African Art from the Nando’s Art Collection
April 20 - October 22, 2023
Curated by Laurie Ann Farrell

#SeeOurFuture debuts in African American Museum, Dallas Fair Park, during a transformative time in the cultural district. The exhibition brings together paintings, works on paper, sculptures, and photography as visual documentation of forgotten images and histories. These works were all created in South Africa between 1948 and 2020, and while they are bound by a specific time and place, they chronicle universal issues that touch us all: love, loss, and hope for a better future.
With over 25,000 artworks in the Nando’s Art Collection for the Curator Laurie Ann to choose from, this exhibition underscores portraiture, cityscapes, landscapes, and colorful abstractions. The exhibition is made possible by the beloved restaurant group Nando’s, one of the world’s largest collectors of contemporary Southern African art.
Get a Sneak Peek at the Nando’s Collection: 

Frank Frazier Retrospective: The Visionary. The Advocate. The Artist.
April 7 – June 27, 2023

A selection of more than 30 works from the collections of Renee Brooks, Dr. Michael Butler, Dr. Damien Fisher, the Tom Joyner Foundation, The Frazier Family Collection, and other collectors from around the United States will be on view at the African American Museum of Dallas from April 7 – June 27, 2023.

The exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to explore narratives of the African Diaspora while engaging in works that connect ancestral history with our contemporary world. The works of Frazier illustrate traditions in daily life, culture, history, and the impact of one’s commitment to the arts.

March 18 - April 18, 2023

“Resistance” completes a journey to display the artwork from an art school student to professional artists who address propaganda against us as an African people, the need for justice for the masses who are exploited and oppressed by racism, sexism, and capitalism, and finally to transform a worldwide system of exploitation and oppression into a world that allows us to connect with the universal law of nature.

Born in San Francisco, I studied Art BA (general studio practice) at San Jose State University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2000. I worked as a San Francisco Firefighter for twenty-three years. Now, retired in Dallas, Texas I am pursuing my career as Artist.

Painting and drawing for over 40 years, and now my emphasis is on showing my works to the larger collective. By deconstructing the social structures that prevent self-expression and exposure to create an environment full of African thought that looks forward to the possibilities and kinship of the people now.

My Digital works are for sale locally around Dallas in various locations as well as online. My artwork most recently has been seen in Maine and New Hampshire. But some major cities have
been seen in Chicago, San Francisco, and throughout Texas. I have been in various Art Shows in Dallas recently at the African American Museum Dallas. I also have given several paint parties here in Dallas and San Francisco. These paint parties have aimed to build more appreciation of Art amongst African people in our communities.

January 21, 2023 – April 8, 2023

Shining light on the rich history of Black cowboys and their impact on Texas and American history, “Black Cowboys: An American Story” will open Jan. 21, 2023, at the African American Museum, Dallas. With more than 50 artifacts, photographs, documents and films, the exhibition explores the lives and work of the numerous Black men, women and children – enslaved and free – who labored on the ranches of Texas and participated in cattle drives before the Civil War through the turn of the 20th century. Free and open to the public, “Black Cowboys” – presented locally by Bank of America – will run through April 15, 2023, at the African American Museum, Dallas in historic Fair Park (3536 Grand Ave., Dallas, 75210). The exhibition is organized by the Witte Museum. Presented locally by Bank of America. 

The 27th Carroll Harris Simms National Black Art Competition and Exhibition
December 17 - March 17, 2023

In 1976, the African American Museum, Dallas initiated the annual Southwest Black Art Competition and Exhibition. The purpose of the juried competition and exhibition stemmed from the Museum’s need to build a distinguished art collection and to provide Black artists a venue to display their work.

The Southwest Black Art Competition and Exhibition attracted the attention of artists beyond the initial regional boundaries. In 1999, the competition and exhibition was renamed the Carroll Harris Simms National Black Art Competition and Exhibition in honor of Simms’ outstanding contribution to art and art education. Simms is celebrated as a master sculptor, painter, author and educator and was co-founder of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. 

The 27th Carroll Harris Simms National Black Art Competition and Exhibition is a display of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and assemblages selected by a panel of jurors. Artworks in this exhibition present a survey of subject matter on the minds of contemporary artists from across the nation. Themes include self-reflection, transformation, movement through space and time, and celebration of culture and identity. Dream, 2022, a painting by Victorious McCleod (Orlando, Florida), explores internal landscapes and the hero’s journey (referred to as monomyths); Sailor Venus, 2021, a mixed media portrait by Jasmine Best (Greensboro, North Carolina), provides a vehicle to make connections between personal memories and their impact on the present; Faded, 2021, a photograph by Inyang Essien (Dallas, Texas), salutes intercultural identities throughout the African diaspora. Altogether, the energetic and diverse visual expressions in the exhibition bring to light how these artists construct and deconstruct personal narrative within collective human experiences.

African American Museum Season Sponsors 

Atmos, Eugene McDermott Foundation, Fair Park First and Spectra Venue Management, Friendship West Baptist Church, Oncor, State Fair of Texas, 

City of Dallas, Office of Arts and Culture, Gleniece Robinson, Locke Lord, 

Peggy and Carl Sewell, Bank of America, R. G. Parish, Helen Benjamin.

African American Museum Community Partners 

Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Brenda Jackson, Big Thought, 

Helen Giddings, and H. Kay and Kenneth Jarvis Foundation.

August 2, 2022 – January 7, 2023

The African American Museum presents Fire! The Resurrection of Mr. Imagination featuring approximately 80 works by the late artist known as Mr. Imagination (born Gregory Warmack, 1948-2012). The exhibition sheds light on Mr. Imagination‘s extraordinary career and his triumph over destruction and tragedy—specifically several collective fires that resulted in the loss of his studio, pets, some of his artwork, memorabilia and art collection, yet allowed him to expand his own imaginary worldview. The exhibition is a tribute to his creative spirit as well as an investigation of his artistic journey.

FIRE! The Resurrection of Mr. Imagination is the result of conversations and collaborations between curator Ramona Austin and Mr. Imagination. The exhibition originally opened in 2014 at Old Dominion University’s Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries in Norfolk, Virginia.

Charles Humes, Jr.
Just Another Day Waiting to Inhale, 1999
Acrylic on canvas, 36” x 48”

Best in Show
Carroll Harris Simms National Black Art Competition and Exhibition
Selections - July 2022 – December 2022

In 1976, the African American Museum, Dallas initiated the Southwest Black Art Competition and Exhibition. The purpose of the juried competition and exhibition stemmed from the Museum’s need to build a distinguished art collection and to provide Black artists in the region a venue to showcase their work. 

Over the years, the Southwest Black Art Competition and Exhibition attracted the attention of artists beyond its geographical boundaries. In 1999, the biennial competition was renamed the Carroll Harris Simms National Black Art Competition and Exhibition in honor of Mr. Simms’ outstanding contributions to art and art education. 

Carroll Harris Simms was the chairman of the Art Department at Texas Southern University. In 1950, Simms joined the faculty of Texas Southern University (formerly Texas State University for Negroes) and became the co-founder of the Art Department.  He served as Professor of Art until 1987. Professor Simms developed a unique program of ceramics and sculpture at the University.

Best in Show is a selection of previous awardees from the Carroll Harris Simms National Black Art Competition and Exhibition. Spanning from 1976 – 2021, Best in Show consists of 24 works by artists including Sedrick Huckaby (TX), Charles Humes, Jr. (FL), Jeremy Biggers (TX), Billy Colbert (VA), Asia Youngs-Bailey (TX), and Reginald Gammon (NM). Reflecting Black American conditions and traditions, the exhibition features themes addressing politics, family values, identity, and religion. The paintings, drawings, and mixed media works represented are a part of the permanent collections at the African American Museum, Dallas. 

The upcoming competition and exhibition is scheduled for December 2022. Artists interested in submitting work should follow the forthcoming QR code or visit www.aamdallas.org.

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