Extraordinary Living

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Extraordinary LIVING: The Art of Arnold Hurley

History is not simply an idea that is considered. It is visualized. It is the experience of seeing the heroes you learn about, their acts of courage, and the people they lived around in order to understand the values they embody.

Arnold Hurley represents the embodiment of that idea and we are excited to showcase his work on the living history that Black America incapsulates. Having lived in Maryland for 33 years, Arnold Hurely has done artwork since childhood and uses his artwork to inspire others around the world in seeing the extraordinary in seemingly ordinary moments. Arnold has noted repeatedly that is impossible to appreciate the significance of his art without seeing the significance of his story in developing it.

Family Legacy

Arnold was influenced deeply by his mother and uncle. His mother and uncle are his inspiration and the artwork done here is a tribute to the artists in his family who preceded him. These individuals were highly influential on his development when it came to realizing the potential for his art to transform the world. Both elders were artists themselves and refused to let Hurely miss opportunities to make history with his work. He was grateful that his father provided art supplies and that he learned on artistic styles such as still life (as the uncle did a lot of still life).

Hurely’s mother took him to the Children’s Art Center in Boston as a child and inspired him by taking him there frequently (around 4 to 5 years of age), as it was in middle school where art began to take on a more serious role in his life. This was due to his art teacher (Dorothy Dolan, an 8th grade white female teacher in 1960) who challenged him to take his art seriously. Moreover, his high school art teacher (Michael Tulysewski) later enrolled Arnold into the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. He was also granted a Ford Foundation grant in 1964 to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Creating your own Space

Hurley once had trouble getting into the front page of the Boston Herald (March 13, 1966), as the Doll and Richards (the oldest gallery in the country at the time) wanted him to change his artwork to abstract. Hurley noted the institution did not want him to paint in realism and still life paintings. He was grieved at the institution expressing a lack of support (in subtle way, saying “the image of the school is different than what you’re doing”) and being willing to take his scholarship away  when he refused to cease creating art centered in realism. In his third year, because of his painting style preferences not being understood, he left that institute. Later, he attended Tufts University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, with a major in painting.  This decision opened many doors for his current work inspiring artists across the country.

Mr.Hurley is a retired teacher at Crossland High School in Prince George’s County. Moreover, Hurely has taught painting at several colleges and museums, ranging from Emerson College to the Lowell University, Fitchburg Art Museum, Boston Public Schools and Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Moreover, he has also received more than 40 awards for his paintings and drawings and has had his work included in group exhibitions in New York and Massachusetts alongside other states. Arnold has become a pioneer several contexts with regards to his art within the world of institutional art.

He has encouraged others to forge their own paths and find communities that will showcase their work when Blackness is perceived as a negative. In his words, “I am a Black person who can create art for everyone. I can do still life for anyone and people would never know that I was a Black person doing it.” Others have wondered at times when he received rewards and they didn’t know it was him who did the artwork.


Arnold Hurely’s artwork is rooted in realism. He appreciates using a realistic/representational style in order to accurately highlight the fullness of moments in time that he observed. He enjoys the works of Rembrandt, Ingres and Andrew Wyeth as inspiration for the work he does. Additionally, he enjoys highlighting the beauty of the human face in art. His works varies from still life drawings to portraiture. Oil, watercolor, pastel and pencil drawings are among the defining artistic aspects that Hurely excels in.

Art MUST reflect our LIVING History!
Arnold highlights historical and contemporary issues, from church life to Black American figures who were fighters in civic activism and education. Notice the detail in his paintings and the vibrancy in which he illustrates various situations that Black Americans have found themselves in. This is part of the process of making the ordinary extraordinary. It is hoped that Arnold Hurley’s work will inspire you to see how you can take moments from life around you (and before you with your elders) and bring them to life so that living history is not forgotten.  He wants others to celebrate the extraordinary in ordinary, everyday life. This is seen in the watercolor drawings of his students he taught in high school when he taught general art courses (art history, perspectives, etc.). Several his students are teachers now and were inspired by his work. They grew from not only witnessing him celebrate them with his art but celebrate historical Black Americans in his drawings who inspired him to make extraordinary moments amazing!

FREE RSVP here! 

Flying Towards Freedom

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Flying towards Freedom: Migration Stories of Maryland Families


The late Toni Morrison’s 1977 book Song of Solomon was a fictional tale about Macon “Milkman” Dead, an African American young man living a life of fruitless meandering until he begins the search to learn more about his family’s history. In the book, Morrison’s characters discuss political ideology reminiscent of the views of prominent Black leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. She also uses the metaphor of flying when describing the act of trying to and finally finding oneself through one’s own family history. Inspired by this award-winning novel and the legacy of Toni Morrison who recently passed away in August 2019, curator Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman develops an exhibit that uses Morrison’s flying metaphor to present select migration stories of five Maryland families.

The exhibit Flying towards Freedom: Migration Stories of Maryland Families focuses on the migration stories of five families who have moved from one part of the country to Prince George’s County, MD as their final destination or a milestone moment within their family’s migration history. From the uncovering of African American heritage by a white-identifying long-time county resident to the collage of memories chronicling a Prince George’s county resident’s family roots from the Gullah Islands to Temple Hills, Md, this exhibit presents scrapbook-styled imagery of a people’s history told from their own perspective.


About the curator:

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a storyteller—a producing playwright, performance artist and homeschooling parent. She teaches Communication Studies and Intro to Fine and Performing Arts at the Community College of Baltimore County and is founding director of Liberated Muse Arts Group. A 2015 recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, she is a 2019 Theater Alliance Quadrant Playwright. Khadijah is a long-time resident of Prince George’s County and a doctoral candidate within the Advanced Leadership and Policy Studies department at Morgan State University. She holds an MA in Mass Communication from Towson University and BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (African-American Studies and Mass Media) from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.


Upcoming Programs  

Visit Prince George's African American Museum and Cultural Center today!

We have fun and exciting events planned for your friends and family.


PGAAMCC on NBC4: The Importance of Black Art

NBC News4's Molette Green spoke with local artists from our current exhibition, Preston Sampson,  Chanel Compton, PGAAMCC board member  and Executive Director of the Banneker-Douglass Museum and Will Watson, an MFA candidate from the Maryland Institute College of Art to discuss the importance of black


Through Their Eyes: Creative Expressions Inspired By Prince George's County CVPA Alumni

Join us for the opening of our new exhibition:" Through Their Eyes-Art, Education, and Influence-Creative Expressions Inspired by Prince George's County CVPA Alumni." Curated by Pamela Harris Lawton, EdDCTA, MFA,

Through Their Eyes – Art, Education, and Influence: Creative Expressions Inspired by Prince George’s County CVPA Alumni” showcases the work of select alumni of the Visual Arts Programs at Suitland High School and Northwestern High School. Featuring art works and other narrative expressions inspired by curricula, teachers, pedagogical approaches, peer interactions, overall CVPA program experiences, and the schools themselves, “Through Their Eyes” celebrates the achievements of our County’s brightest artistic talents while also advocating for arts education as an integral part of the learning process.

Upcoming events related to this exciting exhibit (Click on each link below for additional info):





Call for Artists


Fall 2016 Exhibit: Through Their Eyes- Art, Education, and Influence: Creative Expressions Inspired by Prince George’s County CVPA Alumni”

Duration: October 12- Friday January 20

Submission Deadline: August 31



 “Through Their Eyes- Art, Education, and Influence: Creative Expressions Inspired by Prince George’s County CVPA Alumni” showcases the work of select alumni of the visual arts programs at Suitland High School and Northwestern High School. We are seeking art works and other narrative expressions inspired by curricula, teachers, pedagogical approaches, peer interactions, overall CVPA program experiences, and the schools themselves.



This call is open to:

  • All artists who are aged 18 years or older.
  • Of African origin/descent
  • Attended or graduated from the Center for Visual & Performing Arts at either Suitland High School or Northwestern High School

Alumni Call for Artists Invite


Contact Laura Perez, Director of Education and Programs at

301-809-0440 ext 110


Exploring Black Innovation Exhibit Reception Opening

On June 2, 2016, PGAAMCC held an opening reception for the newest exhibit, 'Exploring Black Innovation: A Collection of Works By Culture Keepers Students from Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. and Northwestern High Schools'. This exhibition honors the contributions of Black innovators who have shaped and impacted our world. Kudos to Laura Perez (Director of Education and Programs), the amazing students of the Culture Keepers Program and our very talented team of teaching artists for producing a breathtaking mural, a stunning exhibit and a successful program.

A New Beginning at the Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center

Chanel Compton appointed PGAAMCC’s new Executive Director

chanel's photoThe Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center (PGAAMCC) appointed a new Executive Director, Chanel Compton.  As a long-time friend and dedicated colleague of PGAAMCC Ms. Compton returns to us from the Creative Alliance in Baltimore, where she was Education Director,  which involved directing instructors and staff to implement city-wide arts programs.  “We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect candidate!  Not only does she have a Masters in Arts Management from American University with extensive academic training in non-profit management, but she has a true talent for fostering strong community partnerships and support.  We have full confidence that Ms. Compton will lead this institution to new heights, bringing in new and diverse audiences in celebration of Prince George’s African American history, art, and culture” states PGAAMCC Board President, William Q. O. Shelton, Sr.  She previously served as PGAAMCC’s Education Director.   In her past work with PGAAMCC, Ms. Compton developed several signature school-based programs that received local and international acclaim; including Culture Keepers, Early Keepers, and Museum-In-A-Box.  Addressing the need for culturally relevant experiences in schools and communities, these programs garnered a 2-year partnership with Prince George’s County Public Schools, annually serving more than 2,000 students and over 40 schools throughout the County. 

Ms. Compton grew up in Bridgeport, CT, and has had a love for museums and the arts since childhood, stating, In high school, my art teacher would take the class on field trips to museums and galleries; these trips were really special to me because there were absolutely no art museums or galleries near my neighborhood.  During a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was introduced to the work of Leonardo Drew, a renowned African American artist who actually graduated from my high school.  I was very proud that an artist from my local community was featured at such a prestigious museum; showcasing artwork that enhanced me and my classmates’ knowledge of Black history.  For me, that experience illustrates that a museum can be a powerful place of learning and inspiration.   Institutions such as museums can be places that inspire a new generation of leaders and innovators; a place of unity and connection, a place of learning, and a place of individual and collective transformation.”

The Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center’s mission is to celebrate and inspire the community through the cultivation, preservation, and presentation of the cultural and artistic contributions of African Americans in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Ms. Compton believes, “We encourage our audiences to delve deeper into how they approach the Black experience, especially on a local level.”  Through exhibitions and programs, PGAAMCC shares the County’s untold stories of African Americans—starting with legacies that began with ancestors from the continent of Africa; from pre-enslavement to enslavement to emancipation; the formation of Black townships and communities; and the great thinkers of today that continue to pave the way in the arts, human rights, and innovation.  To learn more about our programs, visit www.pgaamcc.org.  Stop by to enjoy our Culture Keepers, Youth Exhibition celebrating Black Innovation, on June 2, 7pm-9pm.  4519 Rhode Island Avenue, North Brentwood, MD  20722

NOW Photography Contest Winners

PGAAMCC is excited to announce our Now Photography Contest Winners. Congratulations to the winning entrants, and thank you to everyone who participated!

Best in Show Winners

First Place: Day of Service by Edgar Alvarado

Second Place: Lifting Barriers by Chuckwunoso Dureke

Third Place: Eagle Harbor by Cipriana Thompson


Category Winners

PeopleCategory Winner:
Title: Day of Service

Entrant: Edgar Alvarado


Honorable Mentions:

Title: Finding The Light

Entrant: Chuckwunoso Dureke


Title: Honor, Courage, and the Sacrifice

Entrant: Michael Yourishin


Title: 100 Yard Dash

Entrant: Milton Williams


Landscapes/The Natural World

 Category Winner:

Title: Eagle Harbor

Entrant: Cipriana Thompson

Honorable Mention:

Title: Piscataway Sundown 1

Entrant: Kevin Duncan


Category Winner:

Title: Lifting Barriers

Entrant: Chuckwunoso Dureke

Honorable Mentions:

Title: The American Dream

Entrant: Edgar Alvarado

Title: Playing the Weight

Entrant: Michael Yourishin

Title: 94th Aero Squadron

Entrant: Kevin Duncan


Category Winner:

Title: Jumping For Joy

Entrant: Chuckwunoso Dureke


Altered Images


Category Winner:

Title: Vibrant Dreams

Entrant: Aisha Sheffield