The Point Comfort Art Fair + Show is in full swing at Miami Art Week. Held inside the historic Ward Rooming House in Overtown, which holds the distinction of being one the oldest Black communities in Miami, the fair stresses the point that African-American art began when Black people set foot in the Americas. Hosted by Hampton Art Lovers, which operates a gallery at Ward Rooming House year-round, the mission is to share the enlightening aspects of African-American fine art in new and old settings.

Offering invaluable exposure to an international audience of art professionals, art collectors, art lovers and patrons, the Point Comfort Art Fair + Show stands as a teachable moment designed to pique curiosity, share legacies and facilitate the purchase of Black artwork. The name “Point Comfort” is derived from the place in colonial Virginia where the first captives from the West African Kingdom of Ndongo (Angola) arrived in 1619. The people of Ndongo and other African tribes lost their native tongues and many of their traditions in America. Through tremendous adversity, remnants of these lost traditions continue to express themselves in the song, dance, art and crafts of today's African American community. The Point Comfort Art Fair + Show celebrates those remnants.

“Art teaches history, a museum is a classroom,” says Chris Norwood, cofounder of Hampton Art Lovers, along with Darryl Neverson and Imani Greene, an editorial board member of The International Review of African American Art. “The preservation of the history of what this building represents, combined with the types of exhibits that we bring, we’re showing people aspects of African-American culture. Even people who come to the exhibit who are not Black gain a better understanding of their own community.”

Portrait inscribed by former Mayor Tom Bradley, Charles Wilbert White, 1974. Image: courtesy of Norwood Collection.
Portrait inscribed by former Mayor Tom Bradley, Charles Wilbert White, 1974. Image: courtesy of Norwood Collection.

Held in two parts, the Point Comfort Art Fair + Show inside the Historic Ward Rooming House features a retrospect of the work of mural artist Charles Wilbert White and his inspired circle of influence. That includes Hale Woodruff, the mural artist who founded the Atlanta University Annual Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture and Prints by Negro Artists in the 1940s, and Jamaican painter Barrington Watson. From the Norwood Collection and Florida Memorial University Special Collection, it is an official companion exhibit for the Lowe Museum.

At Georgette’s (Overtown Suite), Tiffani Gleen, 2022. Image: courtesy of Hampton Art Lovers.
At Georgette’s (Overtown Suite), Tiffani Glenn, 2022. Image: courtesy of Hampton Art Lovers.

The fair takes place in a tented area in the Historic Ward Rooming House garden. Featuring the works of artists Basil Watson, Brandon Clark, Tiffani Glenn, Phil Shung, Musa Hixon, Chris Clark, Tommy the Animator and Judy Bowman, the show is a curated, multi-dimensional experience designed to tell the powerful narrative of the African-American experience through art and conversation. The week-long fair has also presented HBCU collections, providing a rich resource for the study of Black American art from the last two centuries.

Martin Luther King Jr. Study for Monument, Bronze, Basil Watson, 2020. Image: courtesy of Hampton Art Lovers.
Martin Luther King Jr. Study for Monument, Bronze, Basil Watson, 2020. Image: courtesy of Hampton Art Lovers.

Events include a Sound Sculpture session curated by Rich Medina; an Art Talk with Norwood and Jill Deupi, director and chief curator of the University of Miami Lowe Museum, hosted by University of Miami Black Alumni; "Images of Social Justice," hosted by South Florida People of Color; Hampton Art Lovers Presents: “Bespoke Motor Gallery: Art, Rigs and Rugged Elegance,“ presented by Miami Jeep Pull-Up; and a closing reception, hosted by South Florida People of Color with sounds curated by Six Mill.

The Point Comfort Art Fair + Show runs through December 4, 2022.