JOSEPH HOLSTON, born in 1944, is a nationally recognized artist who works from his studio in Takoma Park, Maryland. Formally trained in commercial art, he left that field in 1972, to devote full-time to studying, developing and refining his skills as a painter and printmaker. His first solo museum exhibition in 1976, at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, received excellent critical reviews.
Holston has produced a wide-ranging body of work that is included in permanent collections in public and private museums, universities and other institutions. Among these institutions are the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art; the Library of Congress Fine Print Collection; the Yale University Art Gallery; the Georgia Museum of Art, the Butler Institute of American Art; the U. S. Federal Reserve Fine Art Collection; the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design; the Amarillo Museum of Art, Texas; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; the University of Maryland University College; the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland; the Lyndon B. Johnson Library at the University of Texas; and Howard University. Holston’s work has been exhibited in many of these same museums and venues.
His visual narrative “Color in Freedom: Journey along the Underground Railroad,” consisting of 50 paintings, etchings and drawings, has been on tour since 2008. It was presented in 2010 at the United Nations Mission in Geneva, Switzerland, under the sponsorship of the U. S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. The eighteen etchings from “Color in Freedom” are included in the collection of the Library of Congress. In 2011, Holston completed the painting “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” to commemorate the dedication of the Martin Luther King National Memorial in Washington, D.C. The screen print created from this painting has been added to the permanent collections of the Library of Congress and the Federal Reserve Board. Holston has created special commissions for several organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the National Medical Association, and North Carolina A & T State University.
Holston is one of the artists included in the traveling exhibition “African American Art since 1950,” organized by the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Art and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, at the University of Maryland.