Kwame Brathwaite: Things Well Worth Waiting For

17 Apr 2024 – 17 Aug 2024

Regular hours

12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 21:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00

Free admission

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ArtCenter College of Design is proud to announce the exhibition Kwame Brathwaite: Things Well Worth Waiting For.


Inspired by his multifaceted relationship to music, the exhibition is organized around three overlapping areas of: music, fashion, and community. A major solo exhibition reveals the innovative work of the photographer, artist, and community leader (1938-2023).

On view April 17 through August 17, 2024
Opening reception, Saturday, May 18, 5-7pm

In the mid-50s, eighteen-year-old Kwame Brathwaite picked up a camera and began capturing images from the dimly lit jazz clubs that he frequented in the Bronx. For over six decades the photographer devoted his career to perceptively documenting life and culture in conjunction with the civil rights, Black Arts and Black Power movements in images that have been hailed as elegant, powerful, and visionary.

With singular images of cultural luminaries such as Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, and Abbey Lincoln, alongside musicians, models, and community members in the Bronx and Harlem, Brathwaite’s work sheds light on a fascinating period in Twentieth Century culture. The exhibition reintroduces this visionary artist whose work has become increasingly relevant in recent years.

Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery
ArtCenter College of Design
1700 Lida Street
Pasadena, CA 91103

Gallery Hours:
Wednesday to Saturday, 12 pm - 5 pm.
Reservations recommended.

Historical Background:

As co-founder of the African Jazz Art Society & Studio (AJASS) in the South Bronx, Brathwaite led community building efforts by hosting and celebrating jazz music as an African Art form. In 1962, a year after attending the “Miss Natural Standard of Beauty Contest,” AJASS staged Naturally ‘62: a groundbreaking merging of fashion, music, and politics in Harlem that introduced the Grandassa Models—a group of black women who together challenged prevailing notions of beauty by wearing their hair in natural styles and showcasing African-inspired fashion and jewelry. That evening of January 28, 1962, the Black is Beautiful movement began. The name “Grandassa” came from Carlos A. Cooks, founder of the African Nationalist Pioneer Movement, who called Africa “Grandassaland.” Naturally events continued annually for many years and grew to be one of the most important cultural movements of the Twentieth Century. Promoted initially through the Naturally fashion shows with the Grandassa Models, the “Black is Beautiful” movement gained broader awareness through nationally traveling AJASS concerts by members Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, and others. Today the phrase is synonymous with the work of Brathwaite, whose photographs celebrate black culture and identity yet also stand alone as unique and stunning images unto themselves.

What to expect? Toggle


Grace Deveney

Sarajean Ruttenberg

David C.

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Kwame Brathwaite



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