Artist Moe Brooker discusses his life and career. A native of Philadelphia, Brooker came to Cleveland in 1979 to teach at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where he became its first full-time African American instructor. Shortly after arriving in Cleveland, Brooker won top honors at the prestigious May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art, overcoming the common perception that no black artist could win the show. The artist describes his own artistic education and development from his early interest in drawing comic book figures through his education in Philadelphia public schools and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, as well as study abroad in Rome and Paris. Brooker discusses his interest in and insights on jazz and its impact on his visual art. Brooker describes Cleveland as he experienced it in the 1970s and 1980s and credits the city and its arts culture for fostering his artistic development. The artist speaks candidly about the relationship of art and race, protesting the label "African American art" as a "ludicrous and unimportant" distinction. This interview was conducted by telephone.


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Brooker, Moe (interviewee)


Busta, William (interviewer)


Cleveland Artists Foundation



Document Type

Oral History


63 minutes

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
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