Legislator Steven J.
Flotteron recently attended an art exhibit hosted at Touro Law Center in Bay
Shore for the collection of William Henry Johnson. Islip Arts Council Executive
Director Lynda Moran worked with the Smithsonian Museum Archives in bringing this
representation of Johnson’s many periods of African American art to Suffolk
Johnson was an artist
who made use of a primitive style of painting to depict the experience of
African-Americans during the 1930s and '40s. After deciding to pursue his
dreams as an artist, he attended the National Academy of Design in New York and
met his mentor, Charles Webster Hawthorne. After graduating, Johnson moved to
Paris, traveled throughout Europe and was exposed to new kinds of artistic
creations and artists. Upon his return to the United States, Johnson used a
primitive style of painting in conjunction with what was considered a
"folk" style, using bright colors and two-dimensional figures. He
spent his final 23 years of life in a mental hospital in Central Islip, New
York, where he died in 1970.
The selected artwork
will be on exhibit on the 2nd floor of the Law Center along with an exhibit of
the history of the CI Hospital prepared by Islip Town Historian George
Munkenbeck and is open to the public.
Pictured (L-R): Director
of the Jewish Law Institute Professor Samuel J. Levine; Town of Islip Clerk
Olga H. Murray; First Baptist Church of Bay Shore Deacon Irving Toliver; Islip
Town Historian George Munkenbeck; First Baptist Church of Bay Shore Deacon James
Corrigans; Executive Director Islip Arts Council Lynda Moran; Dean of Touro Law
Center Harry Ballan; Suffolk County Legislator Steven J. Flotteron and NYS
Office of Mental Health Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner.