The first major historical survey of American black art to be organized in a decade arrives at the California Afro-American Museum Thursday and continues through June 2.

"Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art, 1800-1950" was organized by guest curator David C. Driskell for the Bellevue Art Museum and the Art Museum Assn. of America under the sponsorship of Phillip Morris Inc. The show contains 84 paintings, drawings and sculptures by 42 artists. Works range in date from Joshua Johnston's American Revolution-era portraits to early works by contemporary artists Jacob Lawrence and Richmond Barthe.

Works in "Hidden Heritage," drawn from private and public collections, include those of sculptor Edmondia Lewis and painters Henry O. Tanner and Horace Pippin. Among artists recently "rediscovered" are Edward M. Bannister, an exponent of the Barbizon School, and Grafton T. Brown, believed to be the first Black artist active in the American West.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, which will travel to the Mint Museum, Charlotte, N.C.; the San Antonio Museum of Art; the Toledo Museum of Art; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Pennsylvania Academy, Philadelphia, and the Oklahoma Museum of Art in Oklahoma City.

Driskell, professor of art at the University of Maryland, will give a lecture on opening day. Weekend programs during the run of the show will include screenings of films on contemporary Black artists, panel discussions and children's workshops. Information: (213) 744-7432.

Fritz A. Frauchiger, former director of the Arco Center for Visual Arts, is the new director of the Contemporary Art Center in Honolulu.

The center was created in 1961 as a private foundation and community service project of the Honolulu Advertiser, a daily newspaper. Major support from the Advertiser, supplemented by private contributions, originally funded a regularly changing exhibitions program of contemporary works in a gallery located in the newspaper building. The CAC also established a slide registry of works in its exhibitions and collections.

In 1980, the center became a public, nonprofit foundation supported by a membership organization. Plans for an expanded program include larger facilities on the former Spaulding estate, whose splendidly landscaped grounds provide an ideal location for a sculpture garden.

The Friends of Photography's annual Peer Awards in creative photography went to Los Angeles artist Robert Heinecken, designated "Photographer of 1985," and to author and photo-historian Beaumont Newhall of Santa Fe, for a "Distinguished Career in Photography."

The Peer Awards, the first to formally recognize individuals who have made substantial contributions to creative photography, were established by the Friends of Photography Board of Trustees in 1980. Awardees are determined by 250 internationally respected photographers, historians, curators, critics, educators, publishers and collectors.

Previous recipients of the "Distinguished Career in Photography" are: Harry Callahan (1980), Aaron Siskind (1981), Frederick Sommer (1982), Berenice Abbott (1983), and Andre Kertesz (1984).

Past "Photographers of the Year" are: Lee Friedlander (1980), Joel Meyerowitz (1981), Robert Adams (1982), Paul Caponigro (1983) and Jerry Uelsmann (1984).

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