*Cover Image by Brandon Lewis

Looking ahead to February being Black History Month and an upcoming exhibit debuting with an opening reception on Friday, Feb. 4 celebrating the works of John Whaley, Jr., I wanted to make sure that everyone had a clear vision of what’s in store at the Black Heritage Gallery. Stella Miller, executive director, is always generous with her time and energy, and her love for the gallery is evident in all that she does, and my eyes were dazzled by the talented artwork that will be on display in the coming months. Check it out and mark your calendar!


Feb. 5 - March 25
John Whaley, Jr. - Art & Artist:

The first artist is John Whaley, Jr., who is a U.S. Navy Veteran and a native of Lake Charles. Residing in Houston, he creates paintings, photos and mixed media artwork, and his work is considered abstract expressionism. His works often refer to pop and mass culture, creating a world of unity through color. He’s been highly involved with community work and charities such as The Houston Rockets Community Initiative, City Church of Houston, The Galveston Bay Conservation & Preservation Association and the Preservation of the Freedmen’s Town as well as social justice initiatives and hurricane relief efforts for Southwest Louisiana. You can see his works on display at the opening reception on Friday, Feb. 4, at the Black Heritage Gallery, 1001 Ryan St., from 6 – 8 p.m., and the exhibit will be up through March 25.


April 2-May 27
Christina Brown - Art & Artist:

Next, Christina Brown brings her art to the gallery with her powerful The Judah Exhibition which is dedicated to black history, culture and identity. She is a self-taught pyrography artist from Gibson, Louisiana with a deep passion for art and history. The Judah Exhibition is a visual learning experience presenting African American stories & historical accounts in an art form, while having open dialog to further expand knowledge of our culture and stories. Original artworks from The Judah Exhibition have been displayed at The Finding Our Roots African American Museum in Houma, Louisiana, The Black Heritage Gallery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, The Powerhouse in New Orleans, and at the 300th Tricentennial Anniversary in New Orleans, Louisiana.


June 4 - July 29
Jeanine Blaney

Jeanine has crafted her love for photography over many years, and she has a heart for the community and volunteering to make a difference. She is a champion for women and encourages them to strive for new heights and reach their goals. She is known for promoting African American arts and culture, and she has volunteered for the Women's Commission of SWLA and the Black Heritage Gallery. While volunteering with the Gallery, she started her journey in photography. As a novice photographer, Jeanine began taking pictures with her smartphone, and today she excels with her smartphone photography and serves as the Gallery's volunteer photographer. A native of Lake Charles, Jeanine graduated from Washington Marion Magnet High School, Delta School of Business and McNeese State University. 


Aug 5-Sept 23
Brandon Lewis - Art:

Brandon Lewis' art is vibrant and tells an immediate story! His bold use of color draws in the eye and invites the viewer to dive deeper into his work. He is also an educator with eight years of distinguished Fine Arts experience working with secondary students and uses his extensive knowledge of art and folk art history to bring his works to life. Brandon is also an enterprising artist with more than twenty years of operational experience looking to capitalize on a well-rounded background. His expertise includes art history, creating paintings, sculptures and illustrations pieces utilizing a variety of creative techniques.


The Black Heritage Gallery is located within the 1911 Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center, 1001 Ryan St., along with the Gallery by the Lake and traveling exhibits throughout the building. Hours of operation are Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. To contact the Arts & Cultural Center, call 337-491-9147 or send an e-mail at artsandculture@cityoflc.us.