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The North Carolina Roots of Artist Ernie Barnes

February 11 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every day that begins at 8:00 am, repeating until March 3, 2019

The Ernie Barnes exhibit runs from Jun. 29, 201, through Mar. 3, 2019.

This exhibition showcases many unpublished Ernie Barnes original paintings, as well as artifacts from his life. Barnes was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. After five seasons as a professional football player, he retired at age 27 to pursue art.

In his prolific body of work, Barnes chronicled his personal experiences with football, music, dance, love, sports, education, church, and the South. Widely-known as the real painter of the artwork in the groundbreaking African-American sitcom Good Times, Barnes’ style has been widely imitated. It is best exemplified by his iconic Sugar Shack dance scene that appeared on a Marvin Gaye album cover and in the closing credits of Good Times. This painting, “The Sugar Shack,” was inspired by an actual dance at the Durham Armory.

Barnes is best known for his unique style of elongation, energy, and movement. Affectionately nicknamed “Big Rembrandt” by his teammates, he is the first professional American athlete to become a noted painter.

“The family is proud to kick-off Ernie Barnes’ 80th birthday here in his home state with his first public exhibition in 11 years,” said Luz Rodriguez, Barnes’ longtime assistant and estate trustee. “I hope his fans — and those new to Ernie Barnes — discover more about his extraordinary career. His unique journey is inspirational and important to American culture.”

Museum Hours

Monday–Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon to 5:00 p.m.

Closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day,
Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.


February 11
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


NC Museum of History
5 East Edenton Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 United States
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