Published on April 13th, 2018 | by Jerry Doby
Photos: New York’s Bravest Honored in a Pop-Up Exhibition at the New York City Fire Museum
Alexander Millar’s Everyday Heroes:
When: April 3rd, 2018
Where: New York City Fire Museum, New York, NY
New York’s firefighters are renowned across the world for their valor, dedication, and sacrifice. Now, they have inspired the acclaimed UK artist Alexander Millar to create a new body of work that honors the city’s ‘Bravest’ and celebrates the qualities that make them some of the most extraordinary working people on the planet.
Taking inspiration from archive material from the New York City Fire Museum, and the Vulcan Society (a fraternal organization of Black Firefighters), including photographs of the 18th, 19th and 20th century firefighter, Millar has created a collection of portraits and cityscapes that show respect, humor, and warmth for the everyday heroes of the city, communicating a strong sense of the people behind the uniforms.
Millar launched his new collection, Everyday Heroes • NYC, at the New York City Fire Museum on April 3rd. Special guests where able to view original artwork in oil and pencil, all of which have been created especially for the museum in Millar’s trademark contemporary impressionist style.
After a short run at the museum, the show will transfer to the Millar Fine Art Pop-Up Gallery, in Soho, New York for an expanded exhibition which will bring together critically-acclaimed work from recent years, alongside his new collection inspired by New York and its working people, from the fire department and beyond. 20% of the profits from sales of one of his new artworks, ‘We Can Be Heroes’, to the city’s Fire Museum and the Vulcan Society.
Born in Manhattan in 1897, Wesley A. Williams became only the third African-American to join the New York City Fire Department, at a time of segregation and discrimination. He became the first African-American to be promoted to the rank of officer when he became a lieutenant in 1927. He retired in 1952 with the rank of battalion chief. (Deceased)
Tracey Lewis. She’s the second-ever black female firefighter to be promoted to lieutenant in the department’s history. Lewis has been a firefighter for 17 years, starting off as a cadet. She was an emergency medical technician and later worked on Engine 222 in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn. Currently, Lewis is only women of color who is an officer in the entire FDNY today.
Keithroy Marcellus Maynard, one of the few African-American members of the FDNY, he joined the Vulcan Society, a group of firefighters who travel to predominantly black neighborhoods in an effort to recruit more African-American members. He became the youngest member of its executive board, helped hopefuls train for the written and physical exams, and inspired many to join the force. On September 11, 2001, he lost his life in the line of duty at the World Trade Center.
• Pearl Maynard (Keithroy’s Mother was in attendance)