LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A new art exhibit opened at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art that features 44 vintage movie and performance posters from the 1920s into the 1970s. What’s unique about these posters is that they were for performances that featured African American musicians and actors.

The exhibit is called Caldonia and delves into the American history of Black performance. Performers such as Otis Redding, Aretha Frankin, and Thelonius Monk, who all helped pioneer 20th century American music, are featured.

“These performers and actors persevered through the dangerous times of segregation to showcase their innovative sound, dance and acting. We must not forget how names like Ella Fitzgerald, Stepin’ Fetchit, Ruth Brown, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie, to name a few, paved the way for American music and performance today,” said Demecina Beehn, curator of special projects and programs for MGM Resorts Art & Culture.  

Ralph DeLuca, owner of the collection, said, “Building this collection has taken over 20 years and was a true labor of love. I sifted through thousands of in-person and online auctions and flea markets, and placed ads throughout the country. In the case of the music posters, it meant tracking down the old printers who pressed the posters as well as the concert promoters and their families. My goal was to build one of the most important collections of pre-1970 Black music and film posters.”

Caldonia is open from July 15 to October 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cost for adults is $18, $15 for Nevada residents and seniors 65 and older, as well as military, students and teachers. Children under 5 are free.