SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield’s D’Amour Museum of Fine Art honors African-American artist and former Springfield resident Nelson Stevens with a special exhibit.

Stevens, who passed away last year at the age of 84, is known for creating some of the historic art featured in museums in Springfield and on the campus of UMass Amherst. Nationally, his work was recognized in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Nadya Stevens, the daughter of Nelson Stevens told 22News, “My dad was an activist and he used his art as a form of activism. He encouraged everyone to embrace whatever activism comes naturally to them. It is important that we honor his legacy because it was about empowering all of us.”

In the early 1970s Steven’s lived in Springfield while teaching at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During this time he started a public art project resulting in the creation of more than 30 murals throughout the city promoting black empowerment.