News Releases
California State University, Sacramento

Posted: October 6, 1999


Noted Painter of African American
Figurative Artwork to Visit University


California State University, Sacramento will host Ernie Barnes, noted painter of African American figurative artwork and a former professional football player, Saturday, Oct 16.

Barnes, whose work has been praised by Ethel Kennedy and the late Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, will visit the University from 1 to 4 p.m. in the University Ballroom. He will speak and exhibit his work as part of a three-day Sacramento visit that includes stops at the Crocker Art Museum and three high schools. The CSUS event is free.

Barnes' 1971 artwork Sugar Shack was featured on the opening credits of the television show Good Times and on the album cover of Motown recording artist Marvin Gaye's I Want You.

In his 1995 autobiography From Pads to Palette Barnes describes how he faced discrimination as a young aspiring black artist wanting to attend art colleges in North Carolina. Denied the opportunity to study, Barnes instead pursued football.

After stints with the San Diego Charges (1960-62) and the Denver Broncos (1963-1965), Barnes traded in a football for a paintbrush in 1965.

During the 1970s, civil rights activists lauded Barnes' positive artistic images of black Americans. His breakthrough 1971 exhibit The Beauty of the Ghetto premiered at the Los Angeles Heritage Gallery and was hosted by the late Mayor Tom Bradley, and later by Ethel Kennedy.

Building on his love for athletics, Barnes was chosen as the official artist of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and of the recent National Basketball Association's 50th anniversary.

The Sacramento Chapter of The Links Inc., a worldwide public service organization, is sponsoring Barnes' visit. The group, founded in 1946, is committed to providing civic, educational and intercultural activities.

"His interest in working with young people is why we wanted him to come to the University setting," says Norma Lamb, art committee chair for the Sacramento chapter of The Links.

For more information call public affairs at (916) 278-6156.

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For further information send E-Mail to: infodesk@csus.edu.

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