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- by  Abby Weingarten
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New College third-year Precious Darling (photo by Casey Brooke Lawson)

Black representation in art is deeply meaningful to New College of Florida third-year student Precious Darling. So, when her digital collage was selected for the local Visions in Black exhibition, she harnessed the opportunity to share the spotlight with other emerging artists of color.

“This exhibit is important to me because, up until now, I’ve been resigned to believing that the color of my skin is the reason my work will be sidelined by museums and exhibitions,” said Darling, who is studying art and humanities at New College. “African Americans have been a stable contributor to visual arts and culture for years. This exhibition allows us to get recognition along with those artists before us and future artists who will see this exhibition and be inspired and unafraid to make their art.”

The exhibition, focusing on the theme of “Black Identity in the Arts: Generational Perspectives,” is juried by the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative (SBAC) and open to the public at Art Center Sarasota. It launched on January 27 and continues throughout all of Black History Month and until March 5, with more than two dozen works to view.

“Unearthed Feeling” by Precious Darling

Darling’s piece in the show, Unearthed Feeling, features highly saturated photos of Black men, documents, and a woman of a religious stature. In her work, Darling “practices conceptual and 3-D art principles that meditate on the feminine body and queer intimacy,” she said.

She is among several Visions in Black contributors from area higher education institutions (such as Ringling College of Art and Design and the University of South Florida), as well as other artists of African descent who reside in Florida.

The SBAC, a nonprofit organization founded by Michéle Des Verney Redwine, consistently advocates for exposure of African-American artists and artists of African descent throughout the greater Sarasota-Manatee region. The organization also provides educational forums and symposia to expose residents, visitors and students to the work of these artists. The Visions in Black exhibition is sponsored by a grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation with financial support from the Cordelia Lee Battie Foundation.

Darling produced her piece for the exhibition during a collage course at New College in Fall 2020.

“I’m proud to see Precious feature her work alongside such a talented group of artists, and to be part of this important community arts group,” said New College Professor of Art Kim Anderson. “The exhibition looks incredible and it is an honor to see New College represented in this show.”

For Darling, studying art at New College continues to be a creatively liberating experience.

“What I enjoy most about the art program here at New College is that it doesn’t confine or force me to one path of self-expression and communication,” Darling said. “There is a plethora of opportunities for me to explore various mediums and alter them to best fit me and my work.”

For more information on the Visions in Black exhibit, visit suncoastblackartscollaborative.org/2022-visions-in-black.

For more information on the art program at New College, visit ncf.edu/programs/art

Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.