The Gordon Parks Foundation

Located on the first floor at 48 Wheeler Avenue in Pleasantville, New York, the Gordon Parks Foundation is an incredible institution that preserves the legacy and promotes the vision of this African-American Renaissance man.  The mission of the foundation is that it “permanently preserves the work of Gordon Parks, makes it available to the public through exhibitions, books, and electronic media and supports artistic and educational activities that advance what Gordon described as “the common search for a better life and a better world.’”

A lifelong artist and humanitarian, Gordon Parks was one of the most imminent photographers of the 20th century.  For more than sixty years, he used photography to document culture and life, primarily in the United States.  The themed areas for which Parks is best known center upon civil rights; class; fashion and style; socioeconomic status; race and urban life.

However, his talents, interests and skills extended beyond photography and they allowed him to develop into becoming a critically-acclaimed author, composer, filmmaker and painter.  An example of this extension would be his film, The Learning Tree (1969).  Based upon his semi-autobiographical novel that was published in 1963, this award-winning film was inspired by Parks’ early life.  Because he (wrote and) directed The Learning Tree, Gordon Parks became the first African-American person to direct a film for a major American motion picture studio; in this instance, Warner Bros-Seven Arts, Inc.!

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