On Friday, January 25, 2019, the Fred Schnider Gallery of Art hosted an exclusive opening of local Washington, DC artist, Allen “Big Al” Carter’s new exhibit, “Big Al Carter: A Retrospective,” the first exhibit in DC of Carter’s artwork since his death in 2008. Carter’s daughters, Flora O. Stone and Cecilia Carter were in attendance.
The exhibit—which is open to the public—will run through March 3, 2019 and feature rarely seen artwork from his daughters’ private collection. Several pieces will be available for sale. Carter’s work is on permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian and Corcoran.
Born in DC, Carter was a multi-talented artist—painter, printmaker, sculptor, muralist—who drew inspiration from his experiences and knowledge of man’s universal problems, art history and everyday life.
“I paint poor and rich people and their relationships in this society,” said Carter in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in 1997. “I paint the hungry, the homeless, war veterans, children, the powerful and the powerless. I depict pain, joy, contradictions, hope and despair.”
As one of Washington, DC’s iconic artists, Carter has graced the pages of over 70 publications including The Washington Times, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Teaching art for more than two decades throughout Arlington County Public Schools, Carter was a true inspiration to his students. He attended Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA and continued his studies in the arts at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, OH where he received a B.F.A. in 1972 and an honorary M.F.A. in 1995.
Referenced as a prolific artist, distinguished teacher and mentor to underprivileged youths, Carter’s artworks were inspired from his happy and painful experiences as well as past and present social issues. He was awarded the Kansas City key to the city, distinguished Merit Award, Virginia Museum Professional Fellowship and DC Arts Commission, Artist-In-Residence. Carter’s driven purpose in life was to use his art to heal. “Art is my emotion. Art is my memories. Art is my life. I create the essence.”