African American News

The Art of Expression: N.C. Middle-schoolers’ Photography on Display at ‘The Met’

RALEIGH, N.C.Feb. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Middle-schooler Lacquen Tolbert beams with pride as she views her art installment at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) as part of The Beautiful Project. Her point of pride, the installment is a tribute to her grandmother.

This project shines in light of Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time to recognize their central role throughout U.S. history. When Tolbert’s grandmother was her age, she was not allowed into The Met because of her race, which makes this accomplishment that much more impactful.

Tolbert’s installment includes two pieces of photography titled: Self Portrait and Gran-Gran in the Kitchen.

Her artwork is on display as part of Pen, Lens & Soul: The Story of The Beautiful Projectwhich presents more than a decade of work by image makers who create spaces for black girls and women to express their power and beauty.

“This is a moving display of artwork,” said Sandra Jackson-Dumont, the Museum’s Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education. “This presentation is a celebration of the incredibly talented girls and women who have channeled their experiences into powerful art.”

Lacquen is in sixth grade at PreEminent Charter School, a free, public charter school serving students in the Raleigh area.

Her passion for art developed in fourth grade and extends from art to photography, to writing, and to a recent interest in anime. “What I love most about art is that it gives me the ability to be creative and express myself,” said Tolbert.

Timisha Blue, Lacquen’s mom, had been following The Beautiful Project’s blog and was intrigued by their sharing of stories of things women would tell their younger selves. “I asked Lacquen if she wanted to get involved with their organization, and she had no hesitations. She has always been a talented artist, and I am so excited she was able to be part of this,” said Blue.

The exhibition will be on display at The Met through Feb. 24, 2020.

About PreEminent Charter School:
PreEminent Charter School, managed by National Heritage Academies, is a free, public charter school serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade in the Raleigh area. For more information, visit

SOURCE National Heritage Academies


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