Celebrating Herb Williams: His Life and Art

March 22- May 10. 2008
Celebrating Herb Williams: His Life, His Work, and His Art – As Community Folk Art Center’s founding Director, Herb Williams (1938-1999) devoted his life to promoting the work of diverse artists and ensuring that a large audience could experience their work. His dedication to the collective vision of the founding members kept Williams busy and while he avidly supported and promoted other artist he rarely took time exhibit his own work. This was the first large-scale exhibition of Williams’ work in Upstate New York.

Though he identified himself primarily as a sculptor, Williams worked across various artistic mediums; manipulating wood, plaster and bronze into figurative and abstract forms. His lithographs and etchings not only indicate the measure of his artistic skill and creativity but also serve as a chronicle of his literal, figurative journey as an artist.

During his lifetime, Williams received numerous awards, including the Syracuse University Friends of the Arts Award for Service to the Arts, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of African Museums, an award for Outstanding Contributions to the Black Community from the Ghana Society of Central New York and the Service to the Arts Award from the Cultural Resources Council of Syracuse and Onondaga County. Williams served on the boards of directors of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and WCNY Public Broadcasting, acted as the chair of the Community Task Force, and served on the Syracuse Mayor’s Urban Arts Commission as well as the board of directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).