Black Moses: The Art of Rev. Albert Wagner

Black Moses: The Art of Rev. Albert Wagner


Reverend Albert Wagner is a globally recognized artist and part of a movement called “visionary” or “outsider” art. Outsider art is art created by untrained artists who are driven to their work by obsession, or in Albert Wagner’s case, divine revelation.


Wagner was born in 1924 in Bassett, Arkansas. At only ten years of age, he worked in the cotton fields as a water carrier. Then in 1941 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio with his family where he worked as a dishwasher before starting his own furniture moving company. It was on his 50th birthday that he experienced his divine revelation and reflected on his childhood dream to become an artist. Moving forward, God and art would change his life. Until his death on September 1, 2006 at age 83, he created over 3,000 paintings and sculptures. His work appears in private collections and museums throughout the world.



Few artists receive the recognition they deserve during their lifetimes, but fewer poor artists and even fewer artists of color do. Wagner broke those barriers long before we woke to such a presence.



Black Moses: The Art of Rev. Albert Wagner opens at the Cleveland History Center, headquarters of the Western Reserve Historical Society on September 22, 2022.



Planning Your Visit to the Cleveland History Center

The Cleveland History Center, in University Circle, is open Thursdays from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm and Friday-Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Advance tickets are recommended and can be purchased at Tickets are also available for purchase upon arrival. WRHS monitors daily guidance from the City of Cleveland, State of Ohio, and CDC. Please note that Visitor Guidelines, public hours, and museum operations are subject to change. Updates are available at and @clestartshere.

Founded in 1867 as an historic branch of the Cleveland Library Association on Public Square in downtown Cleveland, the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) shares the dynamic stories of Northeast Ohio and beyond – stories of the people, the artifacts and the archives that are the provenance for our region.

Operating six sites throughout Northeast Ohio, WRHS presents exhibitions, programs and experiences that tell the story of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio through art, documents and artifacts from a variety of collections at its headquarters, the Cleveland History Center in University Circle. Through the use of its vast collections of family history, community history, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation, the Cleveland History Center provides a much-needed sense of place in today’s mobile society. It is a base for learning about innovation that can be transferred into modern economic expansion.

WRHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate (, a national outreach program that develops collaborative partnerships with cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. WRHS is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Sponsorships, bequests, grants, admissions, and other funding are used by WRHS to preserve and enrich the region’s artistic and cultural heritage. WRHS has earned a top four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s most-used independent evaluator of charities and nonprofits. Visit us at 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44106, at or on social media @clestartshere.