Bedford-Stuyvesant

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation presents Otto Neals sculpture retrospective

June 3, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Otto Neals’ sculptures will be featured in an exhibit at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. Photo credit: Randy Duchaine

The Center for Arts and Culture at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC) is presenting a retrospective from 1965-2015 of the sculptures of Otto Neals, a renowned 83-year-old African-American artist from Brooklyn.

An opening reception will be held at the Skylight Gallery on June 20 at 7 p.m., and the exhibit will continue through Sept. 20. This is part of a citywide celebration curated by Dr. Myrah Brown Green at five other galleries in Brooklyn and Manhattan throughout the summer of 2015. On display across the city will be more than 200 multi-disciplinary works by Neals, featuring more than 50 sculptures presented by the Center for Arts and Culture.

Neals became a professional artist at the height of the civil rights movements of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, joining forces with others to combat longstanding issues of cultural, social and economic injustice. He took a leadership role in several important cultural organizations, such as the famed Weusi Artists Collective in Harlem, the National Conference of Artists (NCA), the Fulton Art Fair and others.  

He was among a handful of artists whose work was regularly displayed at the Dorsey Art Gallery, Brooklyn’s only black-owned commercial gallery. When the owner of that gallery died, Neals helped to revive the venue, ensuring its continuing relevance to Brooklyn-based artists and community residents.

Neals’ work has been presented at many well-known arts organizations, such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Ghana National Museum.  Furthermore, his work is part of many public and private collections, including those of Harry Belafonte, Oprah Winfrey and Congressman John Lewis.  

The Neals exhibit is part of an ongoing revitalization of the Center for Arts and Culture at BSRC. Under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Indira Etwaroo, the center has taken on the mission of redefining its strategic focus, making sure that narratives of the African and Caribbean diasporas continue to resonate across cultural and generational barriers and solidifying the center’s reputation for world-class arts and cultural programming.

“Otto Neals exemplifies,” says Etwaroo, “what it means to be an artist who has literally and artistically sculpted a people so we may recognize our own infinite beauty and power.”  

Many well-known artists will highlight the opening reception: The Patsy Grant Quartet; dancer Courtney Charles, an alumna of the Youth Arts Academy at The Center for Arts & Culture; an African drum processional; and spoken-word performances by artists affiliated with STooP s.  

For more information about “Otto Neals Sculpture Retrospective,” please visit www.restorationplaza.org.