It’s not often enough that we feel truly blessed, but at the height of Covid we had a chance to meet and interview Alvin Clayton, restaurateur, artist, fashion model, and humanitarian. He is a man who radiates warmth and invites you into his multi-layered world.
Wanting to learn more about him, we made a date to eat at his New Rochelle restaurant, Alvin & Friends. We brought friends, because it’s the kind of place you want to share with people you love. Alvin’s magical paintings fill the walls. He came over and sat with us, delighted to meet our sculptor friend and his wife, a private chef. When his wife Gwen came over to introduce herself, the conversation moved easily into the importance of everything from community to comfort food.
Fast forward to the night of February 3, 2022, when “Alvin & Friends”, an exhibit featuring Clayton’s works, as well as works by emerging black artists, opened at The Rye Arts Center.
We were not surprised to find the Gallery filled with a wide circle of artists and friends as well as keenly interested patrons. Board member Kicki Storm, also a natural-born connector of people, not only curated the show, but took guests on private tours.
While joy and dazzling color are the qualities we associate most with Clayton’s art, at the exhibit opening he said he was a man on a mission, “I wanted to bring truth to power with this show, and focus, through art, on creating the world I believe we can be, one filled with empathy and kindness, not cruelty.”
Actor Gary Edison delivered a passionate performance of “Daybreak in Alabama”, a poem Langston Hughes composed during Segregation, which expresses a deep yearning for unity in a divided world.
The event was livestreamed and can be seen on the Art Center’s website, but make sure to see it in-person, and bring a friend. The show runs through February 26.
“We are so honored to host this powerful and impactful exhibit,” said Executive Director Adam Levi. “Alvin’s works flood the senses with dynamic colors and striking imagery, and the accompanying artists collectively represent the artistic expressions of the many diverse voices we are proud to stand with.”
- Robin Jovanovich