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“The Importance of Books” by Rhya Cawley is one of several pieces on display in the “Black Perspective” art exhibit at the historic Sunshine Brookes Theater. Courtesy photo.

‘Black Perspective’ exhibit on display at Brooks Theater Gallery

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Theatre Company is inviting the public to view its newest art exhibit, “Black Perspective: A Celebration of Community, Family and Heritage.”

The show, which has been on display since Jan. 12 and runs through March 24 at the Brooks Theater Gallery, can be viewed cost-free.

Featuring 29 artists, “Black Perspective” features the works of 12 artists who are showing at the gallery for the first time, including 17-year-old Brooklyn Burroughs.

“Honestly, my grandma told me that the Brooks Theater was doing an exhibition, and told me that I should submit,” Burroughs said. “I looked into the details and just decided to go for it. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be because at my art school we have to do juries and present our portfolios every year. It felt a little intimidating to submit I can admit, because I didn’t expect for my artwork to get in.”

The exhibition includes a myriad of different styles including portraits, sculptures, nail art and powerful social justice themes.

Artist Thomasina Ferguson-Howard’s “Gordon Parks” is a stunning assemblage piece featuring little girls in the 1950s looking at a public park from outside a chain link fence. The artist uses an actual chain link gate – closed when racial injustice is making the headlines, and slightly open when there is hope for change.

Paintings that have already sold include Artist Rhya Cawley’s “The Importance of Books,” which was bought by a publisher who discovered she had worked with the artist before but never actually met her. Cawley was inspired by a photo of the first bookmobile made available in 1956 to black neighborhoods in the South.

Another piece that has already sold is Marian Howard’s “Reading, a Shared Experience,” which included visual language enhanced by the rich words and imagery of her son, poet and songwriter Alfred O. Howard. It was purchased by a couple with triplet girls who have been read to since they were babies.

A painting of Rosa Parks by Krista Timberlake is pending sale to a visiting musician from Ohio. Additional sales include “Reflections on Hurricane Katrina” by Don Pallia, and “Tomika’s Village” by John Linthurst.

“The exhibition is a treasure for the eye and the heart,” said gallery curator and OTC Board Member Carol Naegele. “All are welcome to come and see the ‘Black Perspective.’”

Thematically aligned with two of the theater’s major events at the beginning of the year, “Black Perspective” complements the performing arts taking place on stage.

The first event, “Generational Black Pioneers: Oceanside Firsts” on Feb. 17 and 18, highlights black leaders who have fought for change in Oceanside.

In March, the theater company is presenting the San Diego premiere of “Chicken & Biscuits,” a feel-good comedy written by black playwright Douglas Lyons and centered around the complex dynamics of a modern black family. Lyons was one of a record-breaking eight black playwrights whose work was on Broadway in 2021 but forced to shut down due to ongoing Covid cases.

The Brooks Theater Gallery is located in the lobby of the historic Sunshine Brooks Theater in the heart of Oceanside’s Cultural District at 217 N. Coast Hwy. With year-round exhibits curated to relate to the themes of Oceanside Theatre Company’s main stage and youth productions, the gallery is seen by art lovers, theater goers, music lovers, tourists and the Oceanside community.

Artist open houses for each exhibit offer an opportunity for the public to meet the artists and enjoy the exhibit cost free. The open houses, often coinciding with Oceanside’s First Friday Art Walk, include ambient music, an artist-at-work on a new piece and light refreshments.

The free art exhibit is open before and during most main stage events. Call 760-994-5975 to schedule an exhibition tour during the week. For more information, visit

A temporary exhibit of renowned Rock ‘n Roll photography will be on display during the Oceanside International Film Festival from Feb. 20 to 24.

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