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Dallas Arboretum’s Black Heritage Celebration Presents Curated Art from Local Black Galleries


Dallas Arboretum’s Black Heritage Celebration Presents Curated Art from Local Black Galleries
Celebrating the talent, creativity and diversity of the Black culture
DALLAS, Texas, May 2, 2022 – The Dallas Arboretum hosts its second annual Black Heritage Celebration (BHC), presented by Bank of America, on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15. The weekend will place the spotlight on the unique talents, art and businesses from the local black community. New this year is an art exhibit coordinated by the South Dallas Cultural Center (SDCC) that will feature a curated collection of art from local African American galleries showcasing their artwork in the historic DeGolyer House.
John Spriggins, South Dallas Cultural Center general manager, said, “We seized the opportunity to partner with the Dallas Arboretum on its Black Heritage Celebration. This is an excellent opportunity for us to see so many talented local artists.”
This year’s artists will be represented by local galleries from around the Dallas area.                Emmanuel Gillespie of Pencil on Paper Gallery; Barbara and James Mason of Msanii HOUS Fine Art; Nitashia Johnson of South Dallas Cultural Center; Sharidyn Barnes, Jennifer Monet Cowley, and Kumiko Johnson of Daisha Board Gallery.
Pencil on Paper Gallery specializes in highlighting the importance of artists and education to a worldwide community while fostering a love and appreciation for the arts. While featuring local and national artists through art exhibitions and events, they educate students of all ages and fosters an environment where they can share the importance of mindful instruction in the arts.
Msanii HOUS Fine Art is dedicated to supporting and showcasing the work of established and emerging artists from around the globe. The gallery features all mediums including paintings, photography, sculptures, installations and more.
The South Dallas Cultural Center is an arts and cultural institution based in the southern sector of Dallas near Fair Park. SDCC celebrates the creativity, vibrancy and diversity of the African Diaspora culture.
Daisha Board Gallery is a contemporary art gallery that represents BIPOC artists, LGTBQ+ and artists with disabilities locally and abroad. These artists express their creativity through various mediums which include sculpture, mixed media, photography, installations, performance art and digital media.
Meet the Artists
Emmanuel Gillespie
Emmanuel Gillespie is the co-owner of Pencil on Paper Galley and was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. After receiving his BFA from the University of North Texas, Gillespie later earned his Masters of Art degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He currently works with mixed media in both 2D, and 3D form.
Gillespie has a multitude of talent which includes specific work for the Bexar Street Corridor project and the DART Green Line project. He was commissioned to create the Ernie Banks Statue for the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and his constructed artwork is currently displayed within the DART train station. Gillespie serves as a 3D art instructor at the Winston School in Dallas.
Barbara Mason
Barbara Mason was born and raised in the Midwest. As an adult, she began to travel and fulfilled her childhood desire to explore, paint and gain inspiration for the art she beautifully creates. Mason appreciates the beauty and the most intricate details in the smallest subjects. Expressing the magnificent abstract qualities of each subject that inspires her, she can capture the magic as the paintings come to life. She works with mediums such as pastels and watercolors, which are among nature’s brightest and most transparent examples of color.
Mason seamlessly combines hyper-realism with vibrant color and abstract forms to put a modern twist on the traditional classic images. With each magnificent layer of extraordinary detail and color, her intent captivates people’s curiosity and imagination once the paintings come alive on each surface.
James Mason
Born and raised in Virginia, Mason is married to Barbara Mason, and together they co-own the company Dragonfly Studio Creations, which was founded 20 years ago. An artist himself, he enjoys taking photographs and has recently chosen to create some aspiring professional photographic images. All of his photographs are taken from life experiences and his international travels. He is always looking for the perfect abstract imagery within cloud patterns, majestic sunsets and skyscapes, which are all too prevalent in Texas.
Nitashia Johnson
Nitashia Johnson is the creator of “The Self Publication” and “The Beauty of South Dallas.” She enlightens the community with her photographic series that was created to uplift the Black community. She is also an independent graphic designer, video artist and photographer who loves to collaborate with other artists. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in 2008, Johnson went on to become an alumnae of Texas Woman’s University with a BFA in Design Communication. She also has a Master of Arts in teaching from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Sharidyn Barnes
Sharidyn Barnes explores the European style of painting that have been influenced by hip hop and popular culture. Barnes uses portraiture and full-figured images in her art. She is inspired by authenticity and the humanity of the black experience.
She will often challenge the Western standard of beauty and investigate the superficialities of medium to talk about the complexities of black life. Through mark-making, she can navigate the white gaze while allowing her subjects to be fully present and show their own individual selves.
Jennifer Monet Cowley
Jennifer Monet Cowley’s artwork features an array of color and uses symbolism, which allows her to create distinctive pieces that exhibit passion and sophistication. She has a remarkable talent that started at a very young, she attributes her love of art from her parents and grandparents who loved and collected art themselves.
Cowley graduated with her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Dallas. She works in various medium such as pastels, gouache, colored pencils, watercolors and acrylics. Her versatility and skill provide an avant-garde that sets her apart and puts her in a category that is all her own.
Kumiko Johnson
Kumiko Johnson was born in China but grew up in Japan, she later graduated from the Tokyo University of Arts. Johnson’s father, who was also an artist, taught her traditional Japanese calligraphy, Shodo, and the joy of painting. After moving to the United States, she worked as a textile artist where she created greeting cards display designs at Neiman Marcus. All of those experiences sharpened her skills and has prepared her to be the artist she is today.
Johnson has found her purpose in life, and she paints portraits of people from all different backgrounds and cultures so that she can tell their stories that honor and respect where they come from and who they are. She paints portraits of Native American, African American and her own culture because she feels they all have such a strong connection to nature.
The Black Heritage is open to the public. Tickets to attend the event are included in the admission to the garden and must be pre-purchased online at or by calling 214-515-6615. For more information and to view the complete list of weekend activities, entertainment, and vendors, please click here.
Presenting Sponsor: Bank of America
Silver: Curls/Beauty By Imagination, ExxonMobil Corporation
Bronze: AT&T; McDonald’s
Friend: Capital One Bank, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. – Alpha Xi Omega Chapter
Supporting: Dallas Chapter of the Links, Inc.; Debra Hunter Johnson
Patron: Baylor Scott & White Health and Wellness; Dr. Arlene J. Ford; HomeLight; House of Dasha; Law Office of Camille Stearns Miller; Tim and Venita Owens
Media sponsors: The Dallas Weekly, Texas Metro News and Radio One.
About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The garden is also home of the nationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. It is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Daytime admission is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 2-12, and free for Arboretum members and children under two. Parking is $11 purchased online. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. WFAA, Channel 8 is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum. Timed tickets are required and can be purchased online at or by calling 214-515-6615.
Photo link – click here.
Dallas Arboretum | 8525 Garland RoadDallas, TX 75218

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