Good Negroes Exhibition Statement


Over the past year, the St. Louis Metropolitan Region has become one of the national examples of racial and social dysfunction.  There have been multiple public discussions about the place of race in St. Louis.  Inevitably, one of the questions that is asked during those discussions is “Why can’t black people just be happy?”  This is a loaded question.  What do the people who usually ask this question mean by the word “happy?”


This exhibition seeks to take a look at what it means for black people in the region to “be happy.”  The artists hope to address what happiness looks like, whether it is found through participation in protests, or in following the unwritten rules that serve as foundational for St. Louis in order to not make social or cultural waves.

We hope the works found in this exhibit spurs more open and honest dialogue that will help change our region for good.




Denise Ward-Brown is an associate professor at the Sam Fox School of Art at Washington University in St. Louis, filmmaker, and internationally exhibited sculptor whose art frequently explores African and African-American themes and history. Denise earned her BFA at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and her MFA in Sculpture at Howard University.

 Terrell Carter is an adjunct instructor at the Wildwood campus and fomer police officer for the City of St. Louis.  In addition to being a visual artist, Terrell is also a writer whose work explores the relationships and interactions of African-Americans and police officers.  Terrell earned a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Management and Leadership from Webster University.

 Sean Frye is an adjunct instructor at the Wildwood campus.  His work explores a hybrid of both fine art and graphic illustration. The subject matter varies, but for the most part the content is pulled from different social, political and personal oddities. The artwork is meant to show distinctive planes of existence.  Sean earned a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Sculpture from Fontbonne University.

 Najjar Abdul-Musawwir is an internationally acknowledged artist who has exhibited throughout the United States, Africa, Asia and Europe.  He works as an Associate Professor of studio arts and art history in the School of Art and Design and Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Najjar’s works illustrate culture, faith, and history through abstract language. He uses different materials as a metaphor for the human experience; and thus, he abstracts material to discuss our abstract existence. His paintings are harmonious visions of contrasting colors, flowing liquefaction, and symbolic transparency.  Najjar earned a Master of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.