8 Public Displays of Black Art - Atlas Obscura Lists

8 Public Displays of Black Art

Step outside the museum to see these amazing displays of art and culture.

Art has always played a significant role in Black American culture. It’s been a form of personal expression, social critique, and celebration. Black art came to life during the Harlem Renaissance, a period that lasted from the end of World War I until the 1930s, when Black identity and culture took shape through art and music. Though you can certainly find it in museums, many glowing examples of Black art can be found outside—sometimes hiding in plain sight.

On the side of Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C., you can find a mural of Black musicians and leaders, many of whom had close ties to the area. The Ali family, owners of the iconic eatery, commissioned a mural with figures ranging from President Barack Obama to the godfather of go-go music, Chuck Brown.

Across the country in Oakland, California, once-dreary underpasses are home to vibrant works of art. The paintings are part of the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project. These larger-than-life paintings were crafted with the help of local schoolchildren. From an ode to the women of the Black Panther Party to a technicolor painting of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, here are eight public works of art to enjoy this Black History Month.