(TRENTON, NJ – May 23, 2023) The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) announces Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams as the winner of the Art Contest for its inaugural Juneteenth Black Business Expo, which will be held on June 15th at Montclair State University (MSU).
The mixed media artwork entitled “City Underwater”, was selected as the winner of the “Black Entrepreneurial Excellence, Past, Present, and Future” Art Contest. The AACCNJ will present Dr. Ellis-Williams with a grand prize of $1,500.00 during the Expo’s cocktail reception from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Conference Center at MSU. As the winning submission, the artwork will be included in a virtual reality Art Gallery that will be featured at the Expo and in the commemorative program book, which is complimentary for all attendees.
“Historically for Black people art and music has always served as a mechanism and expression of our resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds,” said John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM, Founder, President & CEO, AACCNJ. “The Juneteenth Expo will showcase the intersection of Black Business and Black Culture, i.e.., food, music, art, technology and history, with a focus on health disparities that disproportionately impact people of color.”
Antoinette is a playwright, visual artist, poet, and filmmaker. Her play Scarf Diaries: A Play About Women, Life and Entanglements debut at NJPAC, November 2017; author of Black Gardenias: A Collections of Poems, Stories, & Saying from A Woman's Heart. In 2016, she was the winner of the Newark Black Film Festival Paul Robeson Short Documentary Award for “Lee Hagan: Connecting Generations”. Her credits include producer, co-director, and writer.
“Art is the avenue to the lost ancestors, the gentle light for reconciliation, the force of resistance. Art leads to God; it is light, peace, joy and yes, love”, said Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Ph.D. “For me, art gives me an infinite celestial language to cross borders in a time of acrimony, brutality & inhumanity. Art is the path I tread, in hopes of finding a better place for all of us.”
An Open Call for Artists was made in November of 2022 with submissions accepted through April 15, 2023. The specifications for the submissions were original artwork done in ink, pencil, crayon, paint, on paper, canvas, or digitally. The AACCNJ received submissions from 20 artists which will be featured, along with the winning selection, in the first ever AACCNJ Virtual Art Gallery, created by Black Heart Emoji Inc. Visit the Virtual Gallery at the Tech Corner in the Exhibit Hall at the Student Recreation Center, from 9:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on June 15th at MSU.