We acquired the papers of sculptor and painter Charles Searles (1937–2004) in 2012.  

Searles used abstract forms and bold color to explore themes in black visual culture, dance, and music. Searles came of age in Philadelphia during the politically and culturally dynamic 1960s, and his personal papers reveal a man deeply connected to his roles as both artist and activist, epitomized by his involvements with the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC).  

This watercolor sketch by Searles is currently on view in our exhibition Expanding the Legacy: New Collections on African American Art on view in DC through March 21.