Founder of African American Art Exhibit honored by Morris County

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MORRISTOWN, NJ – Viki Craig, co-founder of Art in the Atrium (ATA), was honored with a plaque unveiled in Morristown by members of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners.

The event took place at the Morris County Administration and Records Building in Morristown, where ATA was founded 30 years ago.

Charles Craig and Lauren LeBeaux Craig, husband and daughter of Viki Craig, hosted the ceremony alongside Morris Arts Director of Galleries Lynn Seibert and Morris County Commissioner Deputy Director John Krickus beside the newly installed plaque on the 5th floor of the AtriumGallery.

“It’s been three years since we lost Viki Craig and two years since we first planned a dedication here to this wonderful, brilliant and visionary woman, and I want to thank Charles and Lauren for continuing her legacy. … It’s so fitting that we’re going to have Viki Craig’s plaque here, overlooking the atrium where she founded Art in the Atrium,” Krickus said.

Krickus also noted that Morris County only has two other honor plaques on the 5th floor of the atrium: one for Frederick W. Knox, Jr., a 1978-88 Freeholder, and the other for Ilene St. John, Clerk of the Council from 1991 to 2008.

After Craig’s death in December 2018, his work was continued by his family. The ATA’s annual exhibition, the largest of its kind in the state, has been a successful showcase of art by emerging and established artists.

“I am so proud to represent my parents who had the vision and the tenacity to carry on for all these years. And I’m glad my mom has her plaque, and I’m trying not to get emotional too soon. It’s the culmination of so many things,” LeBeaux Craig said.

The unveiling of the plaque coincided with June 19 celebrations, which commemorated the date June 19, 1865, two months after the Civil War ended, when Union General Gordon Granger announced to enslaved communities in Texas that ‘they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years earlier.

The nonprofit volunteer arts organization ATA takes its name from the atrium of the five-story county building, where the Craig family started their nonprofit volunteer arts organization in Morristown with a mission to educate and promote exhibit African-American fine art.

This year, the ATA atrium exhibit is included in Morris Arts’ new exhibit, REEMERGENCE AND RENEWAL, which opened last month and will be on view until September 2.

The exhibit features 138 works of art by 46 artists who offer a sense of renewal with their vibrant images, vibrant colors, compelling designs and an underlying sense of humanity, Art in the Atrium said.

The Atrium Art Gallery is free and open to the public during business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


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