Profile: Verna Hart (1961-2019)

Verna Hart was an African-American artist known for her expressionist painting focused on jazz music.

She was born and raised in the Harlem neighborhood of the New York City. Her work has been featured at United States embassies in Africa and other United States Department of State offices.

One of her art installations, created in 1999 and entitled Jammin’ Under the El, was commissioned by the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). It is a prominent feature at the Myrtle Avenue station (BMT Jamaica Line) in Brooklyn. It consists of stained glass windows on the platforms’ sign structures as well as the station house depicting various scenes related to music.

She was an art teacher at Springfield Gardens High School in Queens and at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York in Brooklyn. 

Early life

Hart was born in Harlem to Earl Alphonso Hart, a detective sergeant in the New York City Police, and Pauline (Shomo) Hart. They moved to Middle Village, Queens when she was four.

While studying at Andrew Jackson High School in Cambria Heights, Queens, she took painting classes at Cooper Union. She continued her education at the School of Visual Arts with a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting, a master’s of fine arts in painting from Pratt Institute and a master’s in education supervision and administration from the Bank Street College of Education, both in 1991.


Hart had moved to Wilmington, Delaware almost 20 years before her death so she could get medical treatment for one of her children. She died at her home there. According to her son ago Romare, she had a seizure while she slept. 

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