Black History Exhibition to Feature Artist Jesse Howard

January 27, 2015 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

In his portraits of street people, artist Jesse Howard shows everyday people as prisoners of their time, race and surroundings.

This body of work reflects his ongoing attempt to show the hypocrisy of our society, racial stereotypes and the interaction of the general public with the disenfranchised and the homeless.

Elmhurst College will host an exhibition of Howard’s drawings that runs through February 28, as part of the College’s celebration of Black History Month. A reception for Howard will be held on Thursday, February 19.

“Jesse Howard’s large-scale, charcoal drawings of African American males are tremendously powerful,” says Suellen Rocca, curator and director of exhibits at Elmhurst College. “His subject matter, which always has concerned social issues, is especially timely in light of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.”

Born on Chicago’s West Side, Howard returned to his old neighborhood to record images of the people there. “He states that the objective of his portraits is not simply to create a likeness, but to show the stress and pressure in the physical makeup of his subjects,” Rocca explains.

Howard received his bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, majoring in commercial art and minoring in business administration. He has exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center and with 5+5 Perspectives in Black Art.

Jesse Howard’s exhibition can be viewed days and evenings in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center from Monday, January 26, until Saturday, February 28. A reception with the artist will be held on Thursday, February 19, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Founders Lounge, with an artist’s talk at 5:00 p.m. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. For more information, call (630) 617-3390.

The Black History Exhibition is one of about a dozen art shows that Elmhurst College hosts each academic year in two campus venues. In addition, the College’s A.C. Buehler Library permanently houses the College’s unparalleled collection of Chicago Imagist and Abstractionist Art, which explores the vibrant, often outrageous, yet precisely crafted works of Chicago artists between 1950 and the present. For more information, please contact Suellen Rocca at (630) 617-6110 or

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