Annual Harlem Fine Arts Show celebrates healing power of art

NADINE MATTHEWS | 2/22/2018, 11:16 a.m.
Rushing from the stage to get to his shift at Kings County Hospital, Dr. Robert Gore still made the time ...
Sculpture by Woodrow Nash Codelia Donovan photo

McKnight, linking the theme of the evening and the events of the same week in which the official portrait of President Barack Obama had been unveiled, remarked, “For so long, we did not have access to basic health care, and then came Barack Hussein Obama and suddenly universal health care became a reality. It may not be a perfect system, but it’s a lot better than what it was.”

McKnight then turned her attention more directly to the subject of art. “With respect to the arts,” she said, “art can be so healing. I was very ill over a decade ago. There’s nothing like lying in a hospital bed and someone can brighten your day with a picture of a flower! Even someone like me who can’t draw, we can appreciate the talents of those who can share so much through their work.”

The multitalented Dr. Gerald Deas was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Medicine. Among his many accomplishments, Deas, who recited some of his own poetry during his acceptance speech, was the first African-American to have his own regular segment on a TV show, called “Health Matters,” which was part of “The McCreary Report.” Deas is also a musician, playwright, community activist and contributing writer to the New York Amsterdam News. Deas spent much of his speech thanking his wife of more than 40 years, Beverly, for her continued support.

Franklin Frazier and Ruth Carter received Lifetime Achievement Awards in the areas of Art and Business, with Frazier, who Clarke introduced as the “official mentor of the Harlem Fine Arts Show,” imploring the audience in his acceptance speech to not only support legendary artists such as Jacob Lawrence, but also “support the artists who are here, now.” Carter recounted the early days of building her employment agency business in the early ’80s from scratch. “The only support I got was from God because there was no one else doing what I was doing,” she said. She added, “Never give up on your dreams. Always move forward.”