2023 Exhibits

Aurora Art League Group Exhibit

Aurora Art League Poster

Featuring Artworks by members of the Aurora Art League and Poetry by the Aurora Poet Laureates

Exhibit Dates: April 7th – May 20th, 2023

Opening Reception: Friday, April 7th, 6-9PM

Poetry Reading: Friday, May 5th, 7PM

Donnell Collins, Perry Slade, and Dr. Charles Smith

Donnell Collins, Perry Slade, Dr. Charles Smith

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday 2/3/23 6:00 – 9:00 P.M.

LIVE MUSIC EVENT: Friday 2/3/23 6:00 – 9:00 P.M.

ARTIST DISCUSSION: Saturday 3/18/23 2:00 P.M.

EXHIBITION DATES: 2/3 – 3/18/2023

Aurora Public Art will open their latest exhibit during Aurora Downtown’s First Friday on February 3rd, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Located on the third floor of the David L. Pierce Art & History Center at 20 E. Downer Place, the City’s formal gallery will be honoring the artwork of well-established Aurora photographers Donnell Collins and Perry Slade, as well as exhibiting Aurora Public Art’s permanent collection of sculptures by legendary folk artist Dr. Charles Smith.

The exhibit will be on display February 3rd – March 18th. Live R&B/Neo-Soul band Melodic will be performing March 3rd at 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. An artist discussion will be held March 18th at 2:00 p.m. Attendance is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Wednesdays – Fridays, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

About the exhibit, Donnell Collins, Perry Slade, Dr. Charles Smith, Aurora Public Art Director Jenn Byrne states, “While each viewer has their own interpretation of artworks, based on their individual experiences, it is clear that each of these bodies of work, created by such long-respected artists, have so much wisdom to find within them.”

Donnell Collins, a resident of Aurora since 1958, worked as a photographer for the Aurora Beacon newspaper from 1987 to 2007 and is well known in the community, having photographed so many events, and so very many portraits of Aurorans. Recently retired from photojournalism, he is now focusing on his fine art photography and teaching youth about film photography and darkroom processing. Donnell’s work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, ESPN Magazine, and numerous newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times.

Perry Slade, originally from Newark, New Jersey, came to Aurora in 1979. A photographer since his 20s, Perry’s eclectic body of work includes landscapes, urban landscapes, and conceptual narratives, mostly in black and white. He uses photography to tell stories, most often drawn from observations that he has found striking and poignant. Perry’s works has been represented as a juried artist at Water Street Studio in Batavia, IL, Tall Grass Arts Association in Park Forest IL, and the Naperville Art League in Naperville, IL. 

Dr. Charles Smith came to Aurora after serving in the Vietnam War, and began to create over 600 sculptures using concrete, found items, and other materials, referencing both well-known and obscure events in African American history. This powerful collection of works, placed around his home in Aurora, became the African American Heritage Museum. In 2001 he moved to Hammond, Louisiana, where he has created a similar number of new works. Now regarded as one of the most important folk artists in the United States, approximately 500 of his sculptures have been preserved and placed in 19 institutions, including the collections of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Houston Museum, African-American Heritage Museum, Joslyn Art Museum, Intuit, National Vietnam Museum and the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture.