Dorian Henry, a junior art major at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, has a deep appreciation for color. He believes that color is powerful, particularly in how it interacts with other colors. Learning about the artist Josef Albers and how colors can change when paired with different hues fascinated him.
Recently, Henry had the opportunity to participate in a six-week summer program at the University of Delaware’s Department of Art Conservation. He was chosen among a pool of 10 students from historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions. This program was made possible by a $500,000 grant from Bank of America to the university and the Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries. The grant aimed to increase diversity in the art conservation workforce, as a study by the Mellon Foundation revealed that only 20% of conservation museum staff are people of color. The grant covered Henry’s living expenses during the program.
When asked about what he liked most about Delaware, Henry mentioned the organized nature of the state and the influence of the DuPont family. He also appreciated the diverse backgrounds of the students he interacted with during the program.
Henry’s ultimate goal is to work towards a master’s degree in the South, focusing on curatorial research or art history. He aspires to open his own art studio to provide a platform for Black and temporary artists, aiming to increase representation in the Southern region.
During his time at Delaware’s Winterthur Museum, Henry received training in conservation fundamentals. This allowed him to approach the preservation of cultural artifacts from both scientific and artistic perspectives. While he enjoyed restoring and working on paintings, he considers photography his favorite medium.
In addition to his studies, Henry interns at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. He recently participated in a “paw-pup” photo shoot, capturing the interaction between dogs and their surroundings. His art often focuses on capturing the essence of fashion, particularly shoewear brands.
Henry’s journey to the visual arts was a departure from his original aspirations in aquaculture. He quickly realized that he wanted to stay creative and was drawn to the visual arts program at UAPB after meeting with Dr. Karen DeJarnette, the chair of the art and design department. Henry credits DeJarnette with helping him tap into his creativity and securing his internship at Delaware.
Though Henry calls Austin, Texas home, he chose to pursue the HBCU experience in Arkansas. The diverse landscapes he encounters on his journeys between Texas and Pine Bluff inspire him and deepen his appreciation for colors in nature.
“When it comes to colors and nature, nature is most powerful,” Henry concludes. His dedication to capturing the beauty of colors through art is not only a personal passion but also a contribution to increasing diversity and representation in the art conservation field.