African American Art in the 20th Century


This traveling exhibition presents 45 artworks by 34 African American artists from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection. The artists featured came to prominence during the period bracketed by the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights movement. The means of these artists varied–from representational to modern abstraction to stained color to the postmodern assemblage of found objects–and their subjects are diverse. These works were created at a significant social and political moments in America.

Benny Andrews, Ellis Wilson and William H. Johnson speak to the dignity and resilience of people who work the land. Jacob Lawrence and Thornton Dial, Sr. acknowledge the struggle for economic and civil rights. Sargent Johnson, Loïs Mailou Jones, and Melvin Edwards address the heritage of Africa, and images by Romare Bearden celebrate jazz musicians. Sam Gilliam, Felrath Hines and Alma Thomas conducted innovative experiments with color and form. These artists created an image of America that recognizes individuals and community and acknowledges the role of art in celebrating the wide-ranging nature of American society.

Museum Information

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art will remain temporarily closed to the public until further notice. For information on ways to connect with the Museum from your home, please click here.

Museum Hours
Wednesday–Friday: 11am–7pm
Saturday–Sunday: 10am–5pm
Monday–Tuesday: closed (except for scheduled school groups and partner programs)

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
221 N. Main Street
Greensburg, PA 15601

Admission to the Museum is free to all, supported in part by our generous members, donors and these sponsors: UPMC Health Plan

Ample free parking for Museum visitors is available on site.

The Museum and gardens are ADA accessible. For easiest access to the building for those with mobility disabilities, please consider using our North Entrance with pull-in parking spaces located on Academy Hill Place.

African American Art in the 20th Century is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.  The William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund provided financial support.