TEN AFRO-AMERICAN ARTISTS, through April 6 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 17th Street and New York Avenue NW. Hours are 10 to 4:30 every day but Monday. Handicapped visitors may call in advance for special arrangements, if needed. Phone: 638-3211.

A display of paintings and sculptures by black men and women has a temporary home in the Corcoran Gallery's American collection. Beginning this Friday, "Ten Afro-American Artists" are celebrated in a retrospective of their works.

The 40-piece exhibit was planned by the National Conference of Artists, a cultural union dedicated to the support of Afro-American art. The works in the show were selected by Barbara Hudson, a curator and an organizer for the NCA.

"The artists in our show are not as well-known as they should be," says Hudson. "We wanted this show at the Corcoran because we felt it was important that they be exhibited in a mainstream museum."

Though all 10 artists have worked and exhibited for many years, their names are not familiar: Richmond Barthe, Romare Bearden, Margaret T. Burroughs, Earnest Crichlow, Lois Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Archibald J. Motley Jr., James Lesene Wells, Charles White and Hale Woodruff. Their works were selected to show growth by the individual and to establish a reference point for future group showings of Afro-American art.

Most notable in this show are several genre works by Archibald Motley: "Paris Blues" (1929), "Picnic" (1936) and "The Argument" (1940) dipict stylized slices of black urban life; his handsome and richly colored paintings are evocative of fine American folk art. Also noteworthy: Barthe's vivid and tangible sculptures; Bearden's abstract painting of a "Walk in Paradise Garden"; Woodruff's colorful, curious "Landscape With Star"; and Jones' portrait of "Jennie."

"Sam Gilliam and Lou Stovall aren't the only black artists," Hudson says, referring to a painter and a printmaker whose names and works are widely known. "I hope people come and feast their eyes and see what else is around."