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Paterson, N.J. City Hall celebrates African American icons with student art

Black history on display at Paterson, N.J. City Hall
Black history on display at Paterson, N.J. City Hall 02:37

PATERSON, N.J. - Teens in New Jersey created artwork celebrating African American icons, and the masterpieces are now on display at Paterson City Hall. 

From clay sculptures and watercolor paintings to African tribal masks, pencil drawn portraits and handcrafted quilts, an art exhibit representing African American culture and history is now on display at Paterson City Hall in New Jersey.

"African Americans have contributed to many successes here in the city of Paterson," Mayor Andre Sayegh said. "These exhibits are all done by local high school students. In the past, we had local artists. Adult artists. Now we have teenagers."

The young hands that created the artistic pieces belong to students at Rosa Parks High School of Fine and Performing Arts.

"It was important for me to create artwork that represents Henrietta Lacks. It's because I'm pretty sure a lot of people do not know about her. And she's done so much for the STEM research in general, that I feel like her story should be told," student Diamond Anderson said. 

"It feels very nice. It's like, this is a new experience for me. So this is very, very nice," student Shayla Hernandez said. 

Some of the student artwork at Paterson, N.J. City Hall.  CBS2

For the teens, the weeks-long project was an opportunity to learn about the contributions of Black Americans to our country and celebrate their triumphs through art, and for the city of Paterson, the exhibit is a chance to honor its rich black history. 

"A lot of people come through City Hall's doors, and I want people to see for themselves. And I want them to see what this emerging group of leaders is doing in the city," Sayegh said. 

"I was really excited. I didn't even think it would be, like, front and center like this. I think this is wonderful," Anderson said. 

The mayor says the artwork representing Black history will be on display at City Hall all month. 

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