Saturday, June 6, 2020
Black History Month Recognizes: Museum of African American Art
By Staff Report
Published February 1, 2018

 “Fetiche et Fleurs” by Palmer C. Hayden Web Photo

The Museum of African American Art (MAAA) mission is to present artist and art that addresses, highlights and expounds on the experiences through the Black Diaspora. The museum holds many collections of paintings, sculptures and other mediums. MAAA serves as hub for the local art community of the Crenshaw District and has served as a venue for many functions.

Some of the collections on display include the Palmer C. Hayden, which include 40 works on permanent display. MAAA has featured local and national artists of various mediums that include Sentinel cartoonist, David G. Brown, artist Synthia Saint James, photojournalist, Haywood Galbreath, prolific and versatile artist, Emmy Lu, sculptor Nijel Binns, assemblage artist, Joseph Sims and many more. The museum has also hosted many events which have features notable figures such as inspirational and motivational speaker, Iyanla Vanzant, actor, Louis Gossett Jr. and Professor Charles Ogletree to name a few.

In 2016, MAAA celebrated its 40th anniversary as a nonprofit cultural institution supporting the arts and artists in Los Angeles and educating visitors of all ages. Exhibits and programs at MAAA allow artists and their art to inspire new thinking about issues that intersect with the shared experiences of people across the African diaspora and beyond.

The museum’s unique art space allows MAAA to exhibit the work of emerging and world-renowned artists, while bringing free art experiences to the public. MAAA proudly serves as an exhibit venue for local artists, a community event space, and a field trip destination for students from public schools.

Visitors attending an exhibit at Museum of African American Art                                                       Photo Courtesy of Museum of African American Art Facebook

The Palmer C. Hayden Collection is a central part of the permanent collection at MAAA, giving the public insight into the life and work of one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance. The Palmer C. Hayden Collection includes the John Henry Series, a narrative art series of 12 oil paintings by Palmer Hayden illustrating the legendary story told in the Ballad of John Henry. The permanent collection at MAAA includes works from the United States as well as paintings, masks, batiks, carvings, and ceremonial objects from Africa, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and South America.

MAAA was founded in 1976 by noted artist and art historian Dr. Samella Lewis and a group of academic, artistic, business, and community leaders whose goal was to increase public awareness of African American art. The museum operates based on individual and corporate donations; the generous support of Macy’s, which donates space inside its Baldwin Hills Crenshaw store; gift shop proceeds; event rentals; and an enthusiastic community of members. MAAA is also sustained by the dedication of its board of directors, staff, and volunteers.

The Museum of African American Art is located inside the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, in Macy’s, on the 3rd floor. You can contact the museum at (323) 294-7071 or visit their website at

Brian W. Carter contributed to this article.

Categories: Crenshaw & Around
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