Specializing in Original Black Art created by Emerging and Aspiring Artist!
Neiman Marcus Tyson Galleria in partnership with Black Art Today! presents "Kuumba" a Black History Month Art Exhibit. Experience breathtaking artwork from artists inspired by the African Diaspora while enjoying a live violin performance from celebrated violinist Jennifer Jenkins. The exhibit will be February 26, 2022 from 1-5PM at Neiman Marcus Tyson Galleria on the 1st Floor.
The exhibit will feature the artwork of artists and art organizations located in the DMV. Many of the artists and their representatives will be in attendance and available to discuss their creative process. All works will be available for purchase. So mark your calendars to attend and help us celebrate Black History as seen through the eyes of an artist.
About the Kuumba Exhibit
Kuumba is Kwanzaa's sixth Principle, Creativity. Kuumba is the commitment to being creative within the context of the national community vocation of restoring our people to their traditional greatness and thus leaving our community more beneficial and beautiful than we inherited it. The principle has both a social and spiritual dimension and is deeply rooted in social and sacred teachings of African societies.
The artists and art selected for the Kuumba Exhibit fulfill the commitment to the Kuumba Principle.
Larry “Poncho” Brown, Artist and Philanthropist Poncho is a native of Baltimore, MD. He started his first business at the age of 17 as a signwriter and he has been a full-time artist ever since.
Poncho received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design and photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD. His art, both fine and commercial, has been published nationally in Upscale, Ebony, Ebony Man, Essence, and Jet magazines. His art is featured in the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History book entitled “Wrapped In Pride” and “Connecting People With Art”. His popular works have been prominently featured on several TV shows including “A Different World”, “In the House”, “The Wire”, “The Carmichael Show”, “Star”, and “Greenleaf”. Movies featuring his art include “Avalon”, “He Said, She Said”, and “Soulfood”. His work adorns the walls of the likes of Camille Cosby, Dick Gregory, Anita Baker, Susan Taylor, Ed Gordon and Bernard Bronner just to name a few. His original works are in the corporate and institutional collections of Coppin State University, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the District of Columbia Superior Courts, the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University, Howard University Hospital, and Yale New Haven Health Park Avenue Medical Center.
His earlier works were predominately airbrush illustrations. He evolved from a graffiti artist in his earlier years, to a classically trained sign painter and graphic artist. Poncho’s early published works in the mid 80’s like his “Black is Black” Series was the first to address the subject of colorism in the African American art realm. He was one of many artists often referenced as “The Popular Artists” who gained national recognition during “The Cosby Show” era and found commercial success between 1985-2000 during a period known as “The Golden Age of African American Art”, by making their art accessible to the masses through direct participation in community art and cultural festivals, foregoing the traditional artist arrangement of artist representation, gallery representation, and art publisher distribution. At the height of this era his works were sold in 3000 galleries across the country, and on the walls of nearly 500,000 homes.
In pursuing his philanthropic goals, he founded Raising the Arts which has created over 70 images to assist non-profit organizations and African American Organizations with fundraising for the past two decades. He also co-founded the Creative Quarantine which is a collaboration with other professional artists that dedicate the entire month of January to creating new experimental works. Poncho was awarded “Artist of the Year” by the African American Visual Arts Association in 2000, the “Heritage Arts Festival Palette Award” in 2003, and the “Save the Arts Award” as Museum’s Choice in 2010, “The Jan Spivey Gilchrist Visual Arts Award” in 2013, and the ”Baker Artists Award” in 2021.
Admirers often site rhythm, movement, and unity, as favorite elements in his work. He primarily works in acrylic, although he uses a variety of mediums and styles to express his interests in Afrocentric themes, Ancient Egyptology and dance. Poncho’s unique style combines past and present art stylizations to create a sense of realism, mysticism, and beauty, which gives his art universal appeal.
“The African American art realm has been pressing onward because of the positive images that have become a narrative of our perseverance. My works attempt to capture SOUL while purposely depicting positive representations of African American culture. Art and imagery are the strongest forms to challenge the perceptions of African Americans in our society.” -Larry Poncho Brown
The Art of Karen Y. Buster Baltimore, Maryland native Karen Y. Buster was reared in a private artist colony - her childhood home. How else do you describe an atmosphere with a designer-mother, a dancer sister, another sister, a wordsmith-poet and an artist brother? The only one in her immediate family to be a career artist,.
Karen is blessed to have grown up in a household that encouraged creativity and recognized the source of her art, which is a gift from a higher power. Her mother told her as a child she was gifted and different. More importantly, Karen believed it too.
Original Karen Y. Buster's are in the private celebrity collections of Queen Latifah, Denzel Washington, Cheryl Lee Ralph, Toni Braxton, Jada Pickett Smith, and Charles Dutton among a host of others. Her prints also call the walls of the Beverly Hills and Philadelphia Chambers of Commerce, respectively, home.
Among her awards, Karen is the recipient of Baltimore’s own “Unsung” Art Exhibition 2014 Female Artist of the Year, The National Coalition of the 100 Black Women's Arts and Culture Award, 2007 and the 2002 recipient of the Black Heritage Visual Arts Association's "Favorite Emerging Artist" Karen is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated since 1978. Karen’s journey to the world of fine arts came via her t-shirt design business, Bustertizin. She doesn’t take her transition from t-shirts to 35 plus-years creating fine art originals and prints for granted. Karen hears testimonials from her collectors about how her art speaks to them and brings solace to their personal situations such as overcoming illness, recovery from drug abuse, and finding peace after the death of a loved one.
Her eyes have been trained since age five to distinguish between positive and negative space thanks to her attraction to photography negatives and dreaming in black and white. These key components hold significance in Buster's art and are the inspiration for her signature black and white X-acto® Knife cut-outs. The introduction of color in her signature cut-outs came via a dream based on a New Orleans jazz club scene. Karen’s grandmother always said “when you dream, its God that’s talking to you”.
Speaking of New Orleans, the movement in Karen's work can be traced to her decade-long residency (1977-1987) in that jazz city where she studied and graduated from Dillard University. Karen believes the music and sexy, seductive nature of New Orleans seeps into and inspires her art. Baltimore is where Karen was born, raised, creates and calls home.
David W. M. Cassidy grew up in Compton and Los Angeles, California. Graduated from George Washington (Preparatory) High School in 1973. He received a B. A. in Urban and Rural Studies, University of California, San Diego, Third College, 1979. He served in the United States Navy as a Hospitalman, Field Medical Tech, X-Ray Tech, and Emergency Medical Tech. A graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), C.H. Mason Seminary, 1990, graduated with honors and received the Master of Divinity (mdiv). Elder Dave was licensed in 1982, and ordained in 1990 by Bishop George Dallas McKinney Jr., Southern California 2nd Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, of the Church of God in Christ.
David Cassidy is a published writer and published artist (magazines and book covers, project designs, logos) and designed artwork for United Methodist Publishing and a Bio-portfolio “The Art of My Life” (https://www.blurb.com/b/1993994-the-art-of-my-life). He has also exhibited locally at the Prince George County African American Museum and Cultural Center and the Gateway Media Arts Lab, Howard County Arts Council exhibit (Race, Religion and Revolt); Student Teacher Art Exhibit at DeMatha Catholic High School; The Art of Interpretation under the umbrella of Howard University Club of Washington, DC, at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery and other local exhibits.
His medium of choice is oil on canvas and of lately, acrylics (a new venture). He is known for a cubist abstractionist style, the boldness of expression and attention to details of color and composition in his paintings. His work can be found on Facebook, Blackarttoday.com).
David is married to the Rev. Dr. Lillian C. Smith, and they have two sons together, David Charles Jasper and Hayward Felton Earl Smith-Cassidy.
My art is the result of my life experiences. I do the art; the art does not do me. What I am thinking about at any given time, may find its way into my poetry, paintings, drawings, sculptures, or photography. I like lots of colors with lots of vibrant, overlapping, and intersecting images. I want you to stop and stare to discover what is hidden in the artwork. I want to make your eyes work at searching out the story.
Laurence E. Chandler - Abstract Expressionist ARTIST BIOGRAPHY A native of Baltimore, Md., I am an alumnus of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where I earned a BFA in graphic design. I also have a master’s in Education from Coppin State University, Baltimore.
For four years, I served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.
My creative talent and passion for art has afforded me opportunities in both the private and public sectors, and in business as a commercial art gallery owner. I am a full-time, self-employed fine artist and work from my home-studio in Lanham, Md (Prince George’s County). My works are in private and public collections nationwide. I have been privileged to
exhibit my work at galleries in the Washington, DC-metro area, Memphis, TN, and Oakland, CA. I created seven five-by-four-foot commissioned works (three “Encryptions” series and four “Sgraffito” series panels) that hang in the grand lobby of The Hotel at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md. The American Art Lover’s Magazine featured my work in its Guide to Collecting Fine Art in Washington, D.C., and Mid-Atlantic States (2011). Several of my originals were featured on a recent BET HER short film directed by celebrity Kim Fields.
ARTIST STATEMENT “As an artist, I am inspired by the complete freedom of the abstract form. I create contemporary mixed-media and acrylic paintings, working in an expressive, abstract man- ner. I start with no preconceived idea of what the end result will be. This is a spontaneous process (a personal journey of discovery) that I enjoy, and until I make that first mark on the canvas or paper, I don’t always know what colors or shapes I’ll use, which adds an authentic, honest and organic layer to my work.
Using traditional bristle brushes and less conventional tools -- from spray bottles and combs to kitchen utensils -- my signature style emphasizes improvisational techniques and jazz-like expressionistic use of color, line, form texture, numbers or words and space to represent things that are not visual such as an emotion, sound, place, event or spiritual experience.
I am always exploring new avenues of expression and work with a variety of media -- fabric, wire, acrylics, paper or found objects -- which further enhances my expressionism.
A somewhat less prominent, but no less fascinating component of my paintings is the contrasting sides of the canvases. I paint patterns on sides of the canvas, designs approximately one to three inches thick, giving a full 180-degree experience with each painting.”
Keiona Clark is an artist entrepreneur and a curator based in Washington, DC metro area. Clark serves as Gallery Manager for 39th Street Gallery located in Brentwood, Maryland. She is also Curator for the Gateway Community Development Corporation which is the catalyst for arts-centered economic revitalization of the US Route 1 corridor and the surrounding Prince George's County communities within the Gateway Arts District, including Mount Rainier, Brentwood and North Brentwood, Maryland.
Clark is Founder and CEO of the DMV League of Artists; her passion is to align with similar minds and network to build a force in the creative community through fostering relationships and creating fellowship by engage the public through curation, works shops, public art and events; providing opportunity and access to enjoy original work; while also bringing awareness and culture to public facilities and the community; enhancing the network of Artist and collectors. Keiona has not only proven herself to be a force in the “Art” of business; she is also an Artist/ Creative inspired by her love for all things art, creativity, community and the art culture.
Keiona is a (stage 3B) breast cancer survivor who was inspired to create shortly after her chemo infusions. Surviving cancer helped her decide that her life would be centered on her passion. As a young child, Clark had a natural talent and took to art as soon as she was able to hold a crayon. With no formal training, her inspiration is experience, emotional expression and inner energy, and sometimes contemplation. Non-traditional application of paints and technique make her art original, inspirational, and unique.
ARTIST STATEMENT “If it was perfect, it would not be considered art. I look at my experience with breast cancer as God's way of making me appreciate the blessings that I have. So I can only feel sorry for those who will never have the same opportunity. My survival is my inspiration.”
Calvin Coleman was born in Hampton, Virginia, Calvin Coleman spent his adolescent years in Swarthmore, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania suburb. After graduating from Lincoln University where he earned his B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education.
Coleman taught at the elementary level for fourteen years. While teaching, Calvin was also preparing himself to become comfortable enough to pursue art full time. In 2004, Coleman made the transition that changed his life
forever. Following his passion, Calvin’s paintings have shown in a number of galleries throughout the United
States, France and Italy.
Coleman is a published author of his first book, COLEMAN HIS ART STORY. It is the first of the few that he has put together to be published. As a self-taught artist that incorporates Abstract Expressionism and Fauvism, Coleman builds upon the canvas with an assemblage of heavy body acrylic paint, a variety of textiles and other mediums to embellish his uninhibited style
In recognizing a great interest in brilliant colors and texture, he has admired the techniques of Richard
Mayhew, who has been an influence in Coleman’s development, and more recently, the style in which Chaim Soutine (French Abstract Expressionist), created his works. Mayhew’s fluidity with colors and Soutine’s dense textural characteristics can account for the structure of Coleman’s paintings, which are built with such strength in a melody of blended hues, the usage of manipulated canvas strips and textiles.
The inspirations behind the
contemporary style that Coleman conveys to his audience, has much to do with his spirituality, love for nature’s beauty, lyrics of songs from a vast genre of music, and his journey through life. In Art Matters, January 2007, art critic Wuanda Walls stated, Calvin’s work is “endowed with an aura of originality and poetic whimsy.”
Works by Calvin Coleman are included in numerous public, private collections and publications as well. Among these are the Embassy of Rome, Italy, and the permanent collection of the City of Atlanta Housing and Urban Development; Lincoln University (PA); Drexel University; The GE Healthcare Corporate Office and many others.
Coleman has been commissioned by: State of Maryland Lincoln University and Verizon Wireless and Global Hue.
Calvin A. Coleman II presently resides in Baltimore, Maryland where he continues his quest to become the absolute best artist he can be while expanding his creativity to evoke emotions from those that view his gifted works.
Thomas E. Dade was born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington, DC in 1970, a few blocks away from the home of Slave Abolitionist, Frederick Douglass.
Dade’s grandmother, Mildred Ford Alexander, is noted as the catalyst that jump started his passion to create art. She purchased Thomas his first set of oil paints at the tender age of 4. Another gift that enabled Thomas to escape and explore his creativity, was a set of encyclopedias, also gifted by Grandmother Mildred.
In 1987, Dade was accepted into one of D.C’s prominent School of the Arts, Duke Ellington. While attending Duke Ellington he mentored under renowned sculptor, John L. Dreyfuss. One day while assisting John with a sculpture, Thomas began noticing his strong stylistic approach to abstract art.
Thomas began to develop his own style, which furthered Dreyfuss into introducing Thomas to various successful artist within the Washington Art Community, such as William Christenberry. However, it was not until the summer of ’90 when John set up a day for Thomas to meet International Abstract Artist, Sam Gilliam. As a result of this, Thomas was inspired to embrace abstract art fully. Thomas continued an internship with Dreyfuss whilst still attending Duke Ellington. It wasn’t until the summer after Dade’s foundation year at KCAI that he met and pursued an internship with Sam Gilliam.
After attending Duke Ellington, Dade decided to further his education in Art by attending Kansas City Art Institute. Upon completion of 1st year Dade was awarded “Most Outstanding First Year Visual Artist.” In addition, Dade also accepted a summer apprenticeship with Washington Sculptors Group.
In 2021 Thomas had a solo exhibit titles "Strange Fruit" at Moody Jones Gallery in Glenside, PA. In 2019, Thomas had his first solo show, “Ancient, Future, NOW” in Hagerstown fine art gallery space, Engine Room. Prior to his solo show he was also interviewed to do an artist segment on Washington news channel, NBC 5, for Black History Month.
Luis Peralta Del Valle is an award winning artist, born in Nicaragua in 1980 and migrated to the U.S. in 1986. At the age of 13 he started painting graffiti murals in the District, Maryland and Virginia. A few years later at Bell Multicultural High School he began his formal artistic education, continuing his studies at the Corcoran College of Art and Design.
In 2013 Luis was selected as the winner of the East of the River Distinguished Artist Award. That year he was also a finalist for the District of Columbia 28th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards. These accomplishments preceded the presentation of the National Museum of Catholic Art and Library National Artist Award by Prince Lorenzo Maria De Medici in 2014, and his selection as the artist commissioned for the 2015 Beijing / District of Columbia Sister Cities Project. The latter project resulted in a panda statue painted by Del Valle that was given to the Mayor of Beijing as a state gift from Mayor Muriel Bowser. Del Valle is also the recipient of the 2015 National Museum of Catholic Art and Library Portrait Award. In 2017 Luis was honored with the NCIS Director’s Coin by NCIS director, Andrew L. Traver. In 2019 Luis was awarded 2nd place in the Chroma International Juried art exhibition by Art Impact international.
Luis received his first commission from the fitness franchise Body by Jake after his 16th birthday. Since then he has been commissioned by other businesses, foundations, public institutions, museums and private collectors to create murals, portraits, sculptures, and paintings of various themes. Luis has exhibited his works at various museums and institutions including; NCIS headquarters, V.A., Vatican City, The Embassy of Italy, The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, The Historical Society of Washington DC, The Vatican Embassy in DC and the Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Museum in Baltimore, MD.
Luis Del Valle Artist Statement
Luis Del Valle explores various subjects in his works. He paints family, friends, and everyday people as well as historic events and icons, such as Frederick Douglas, Misty Copeland and Martin Luther King Jr. The murals, portraits, and landscapes Del Valle creates tell stories in vibrant colors and realistic figures. They draw the viewer into the long traditions of art and yet speak to the viewers’ modern sensibility.
Among the works presented are everyday street signs, transfigured from one symbolic vocabulary to a new one rooted in love, hope, and art. Visions of strength, determination, prosperity, and beauty, are created using refined elements of traditional portraiture and the embedding of positive messages.
Luis continues to grow his unique personal artistic sensibility remaining an active leader in the metropolitan arts world. His commitment to the arts community is well known in the District of Columbia and abroad.
He believes that artistic development is a critical element in community development; the arts facilitate improvement in quality of life by providing tools to modify behaviors through the channeling of self expression into productive work.
Jay Durrah is a self-taught artist from Western PA who has been sketching since the age of nine. His grandfather noticed his skills and asked him to draw the sketch in the TV Guide. It was an ad in the journal for an art institution that stated, “ If you can draw this, you too can be an artist” This gifted artist had some formal training at the Corcoran School of Art and the Montpelier Arts Center.
Jay has a B.A. from Howard University in Political Science, Class of 83.Jay is drawn to creating portraits. He starts most portraits with the eyes for he believes they capture the essence of a person’s being.
Jay’s burgeoning style strategically places patches of vibrant oil colors on canvas to form beautiful faces. The use of multiple colors represents the multiracial aspect of humans. No one is of a pure race; people have much more in common than the differences society tries to emphasize. Through his art, Jay would like people to focus on the commonality of humanity.
Besides being the feature artist at the The Harlem Coffee Co. during Black History Month, Jay’s work will was displayed at the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center the first half of 2018, and in a group show, Art of Soul, at Walton Gallery in Petersburg VA.
His works belong to either private or public collections, both in the US and abroad. Beyond his commitment to art, Jay also stays active in the community, working with several programs geared to helping youth both locally and nationally.
Scott Fulton, an Orange County artist who grew up in Santa Barbara and has spent my life immersed in my passion for photography and the elements of nature. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, graduated with a degree in Cinematography/Photography, and a minor in Illustration. I fell in love with color and the use of light to tell a story because I found the simple things in life are often overlooked and unappreciated.
My artistic journey began many years ago at age 9 when my mother gave me an instant camera and told me to go outside and photograph anything I found interesting. "Bring the camera back after you finish taking all the pictures and I will take it to get developed," my mother said. I had a small pond out behind my house that became my haven and backdrop for my first photography venture. I found myself shooting anything that would stand still for me, everything from the stray neighborhood dog to butterflies and frogs. I quickly finished the roll of film and couldn't wait to get the pictures back to see what masterpiece I had photographed. I ran home with excitement and gave my mom the film, and as promised, she had it developed and brought home that all too familiar white and orange Kodak envelope. I opened it, and to my surprise, I had 24 beautiful shots of my index finger partially covering the lens. I was so disappointed at that moment, but I was determined. I asked for another instant camera and haven't stopped shooting since. A lesson well learned!
After graduating from Art Center, I found myself working for the film industry as a camera operator shooting commercials and loving every minute of it. My artistic passion grew over the years, and I found myself getting back into "Stills" where I fell in love with the art of Food Photography! I immersed myself and learned everything I could about all the tricks of that trade, and began photographing food for publications, menus, and restaurants.
Fast forward to the next phase of my life when I started a family. The artistic world sometimes can be unforgiving and tough for an artist. I knew starting a family meant responsibility, bills, and insurance. What happened next was a complete 180. I offered my photography and camera experience to a local fire department to shoot their training videos. They took me up on my offer and gave me a job working for the city working for both the police and fire departments. Before I knew it, I was riding around on fire engines and in police cars all the while filming and interviewing for their monthly training videos. What a blast I thought; I loved it so much that I applied for a job as a Firefighter and got hired. I have worked as a firefighter for the past 25 years while never giving up my artistic endeavors.
Having just retired, provided more time to create my artwork. Prior to retiring three years ago, I visited the Dominican Republic where I saw a beautiful exhibit of exotic butterflies and became fascinated by their beauty. Different colors. sizes and shapes of butterflies filled the air of the exhibit as they gently floated amongst themselves. As I sat and watched in amazement, I saw a group of giant, blue butterflies grouped together perched on the base of a tree forming a kind of a shape. In my mind's eye the shape formed into what I could only describe as a long, flowing, fluorescent blue dress. I couldn't get that image out of my mind, so I came home and brainstormed about how to creatively reproduce and display it as a work of art. From that day on, I have been designing beautiful, butterfly artwork. I make each display from start to finish and sign and date each display. My exotic butterfly artworks are of the finest quality in the world.
Erasto Curtis Matthews, born in Reading, Pennsylvania and raised in East Orange, New Jersey, Erasto Curtis Matthews moved to the Washington DC area over 30 years ago as a student at Howard University. He began exploring his artistic talents as a teenager by drawing portraits of friends, family and his favorite musicians. Self-taught, he began painting later in life and his unique abstraction-based style is heavily influenced by elements of African culture and African American life. His work is grounded in vibrant color combinations and unique otherworldly settings. Erasto has shown his work at the Barn Gallery at Wellspring Manor in an ongoing exhibit that started in 2018, The DC Black Theatre and Arts Festival , The Wellspring Manor Fall Fine Arts Festival, The Lake Arbor Jazz Festival, Wolfgang Puck's Sunset Room, National Harbor, Gateway Arts Center's 39th Street Gallery, Brentwood Maryland, Artomatic DC, DC Art All Night, Athenaeum Gallery's "Speak Your Truth - Black Lives Matter" Exhibition, Wheaton Arts Parade Gallery's "Celebration" Exhibition and Erasto currently has work at Serengeti Gallery, Capital Heights Maryland.
Artist Statement I am inspired by the Sun and what it does to things. I love the beauty of nature and the beauty of people. I am interested in the world community and all the inspiration that it has to offer. With each piece of Art I create, my goal is to open a window to the imagination. In my abstract pieces, I want people to see something new each day. I believe my art is the doorway to a conversation between the spirit and the elemental self.
Donald McCray the artist was born in Baltimore Maryland, and raised in Washington, D.C. has spent many years exploring museums throughout the city, country and abroad. He is a Printmaker, Photographer, Mix Media, Curator, and Designer. He has had the honor of meeting with some of the greatest African American artist of the pass century, i.e., painting tips from Huey Lee Smith, sculptural advice from Richard Hunt, and Lillian Thomas Burwell. The artist has had the privilege to have been in art exhibitions with Jacob Lawrence, Sam Gilliam, Lois M. Jones, Elizabeth Catlett, James L. Wells, and extremely pleased to help his late friend, and mentor Dr. David C. Driskell as a studio assistant. The artist was given stellar recommendations by Dr. Driskell on his artistic abilities, and accomplishments.
He has been in several exhibitions through the years and have work in public collections around the country. The artist is extremely pleased to have his creations in the private collections of Dr. Cornell West, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Dick Gregory, Julius Irving, Michael Jordan, Ahmad Jamal, Congressman John B. Rangel, and the Honorable Minister Louise J. Farrakhan.
The artist is an alumnus of East Texas State University, Bowie State University, Montgomery College, and a post graduate student at the George Washington University. The challenge, as with any recreated moment is to not caricature the moment, instead capture in its present state, and as a working artist continually operating in an exploratory mode when creating new images, and genuinely enjoying every moment of the creative journey. The artwork speaks not only for himself, but also for society. Art is my Passion.
Felix Osiemi is a Nigerian - American visual art practitioner with an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College USA, and a diploma in Painting from the famous Yaba College of Technology Lagos, Nigeria. Osiemi’s works are in numerous private and public collections, and museums in the United States and around the world. Felix Osiemi is a recipient of several honors and awards that includes: The Albert M. Greenfield African American Iconic Images Collection was awarded two prizes: Gold Prize – Audio Guides and Podcast, and Silver Prize – Online Presence (Website) for best of the best of 2012 in museum work by the American Association of Museums.
Osiemi's works have been published internationally, and have appeared on several mass media that includes: “Who’s Who and Bibliography” at the National Museum of African Art Library at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. USA. The Albert M Greenfield African American Iconic Images collection. ADEC Guide for Contemporary African Art, Paris. Goethe Institute Germany “Zeitgenosische Nigerianische Kunst” Germany. " From the Atmospheric to the Transparent”: A Progressive View of Osiemi’s Art: MA Thesis, By Noserime at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan Nigeria “Living It Up with Patti Labelle” show on cable TV ONE USA. The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program documentary “Beautifying Schools Transforming Lives”, The Art Institute of Philadelphia "Guest Artist"; and The Philadelphia Museum of Art "Guest Artist, and WHYY TV.
ARTIST STATEMENT: As I engage with the various materials at my disposal, I reflected on my vision of a more credible world; freedom from hatred, discrimination, wastefulness, and blatant destruction. A world full of Love and Peace. ~ Felix Osiemi - MFA
Maria-Lana Queen, a Washingtonian, received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of the District of Columbia. She is self-taught artist, who has been creating works of art since 2003. As a former fashion model, she never considered painting until a devastating personal loss started her artistic journey. Receiving art supplies as a gift from a dear friend, painting helped her deal with the loss of her brother in 2003 and gave her the inspiration to create a body of work that has become her voice in the world. She discovered that by using canvas, paper, found objects, and paint to create her own form of diary-keeping, she could express her feelings in her own coded language. She uses the power of color to express emotions. Her colorful abstract paintings serve as a personal visual diary of her life experiences.
Her artworks have been shown in exhibits in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, New York, the U.S Virgin Islands, and Martha’s Vineyard. Permanent, prominent collections that include her artworks include the: American Embassy in Jamaica; David C. Driskell Center in College Park, MD; University of Maryland University College; and “Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art" - Georgia Museum of Art. In 2012 she and her artworks were also featured in an exclusive Washington Post article titled, “Her Past Colors Her Art”. Through her art creations, Ms. Queen continues to paint her ongoing abstract diary.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Maria-Lana Queen’s artworks continue to explore several common themes pertaining to life: connection and loss, faith and spirituality, family and kinship, and social/racial justice. Throughout her work, Maria-Lana uses several devices as metaphors: ladders to convey escapism or a means of escape to express that there is a way out from whatever difficulties we are facing; small stitch-like marks she calls “tracks” to remind us that with the choices we make each day we lay the path to our happiness or unhappiness; cages to convey the feeling of powerlessness to release ourselves from unexpressed hurt and incessant sentimental recollection that can keep us imprisoned in the past; crosses to affirm the importance of faith and to acknowledge the burdens we bear; numbers to represent their importance as markers in our memory (i.e. she is one of ten children and eight remain); child-like, dark facial images representing African American children; colored bead images, representing Afrocentric beads, and rosaries; and DNA-like images to represent heredity, our shared humanity that on a basic level we are all connected, and to express her curiosity about her known and unknown genetic heritage. Most of her paintings are created as diptychs to reflect that she is also a fraternal twin. In her recent works, titled “Black Lives Matter”, Maria-Lana paints of black children being born into a life of innocence, however, given the color of their skin they won’t necessarily have a voice or be seen in society. For her, the movement is paving a way for generations to come, so that they will hopefully be protected and removed from racial injustice.
Alma Roberts is a Baltimore-based, second generation abstract expressionist artist. In 2011, at the age of 62, she literally picked up a paint brush and began producing what has been described as “fully formed, energetic abstract compositions that belie the fact that she is new to the medium.” Her works provide an insight into her viewpoints on life and the issues and forces that impact it. As she states, “My Father was a portraitist and yet our work often deals with similar expressions, responses, and desires. He drew the faces of those fighting and yearning for a new way of life in this country.
I paint my way through the issues and stories that have not changed very much for people of color. I am honored to wear the mantle of “elder” and accept the charge of conveying messages that translate society, culture, faith, values, and relationships for those who follow me. “I use a broad pallet of colors to grab the attention of the viewer and then use abstraction to get my messages across.” Conveying these messages in a culturally grounded manner is often all a person of color can do in the struggle to “undo racism” and its traumatic generational impact.” “For many years, I did this through spoken and written imagery. Now I use my visual works to connect and to translate my life to those I live with, and for. Even at this age, it is my intent to stay unapologetically woke and present through my art. I owe that to my Father, to honor the gift of his artistry that he passed on to me and the sacrifices he made to give it.
I also owe it to society to fight for what is needed to move our democracy to be the best it was meant to be for all who reside under its doctrines. My Father left me that responsibility as he called on me to speak out definitively and defiantly, to sing loudly, to laugh riotously, to cry soulfully, to dance frantically, to rejoice continually, and to paint as I go.”
Roberts has had numerous exhibits (listed below) in the ten years she has been painting. In 2017, she had a successful solo exhibition at the City Hall Gallery in her beloved hometown of Baltimore. She also has one of her compositions (A Vessel Full of Power, 2017) in the permanent collection of the James E. Lewis Museum at her undergraduate Alma Mater, Morgan State University (Baltimore). She was recently a featured artist in the Creative Alliance’s 2021 Art to Dine For Series.
Roberts is a founding member of the Joshua Johnson Council at the Baltimore Museum of Art. She founded and for over a decade, managed a literary arts organization, New Breezes, which featured local poets, writers, and performers from across the region and that brought national literary figures such as Sonia Sanchez and Ntozake Shange to Baltimore. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and is a Commissioner on the Baltimore Public Art Commission that approves and oversees the installation and maintenance of public artworks throughout the city.
B/ue Robin is a creator,his mission is to use art as a vehicle to heal with love. Whether it is acrylic on canvas, a design burned into wood or a digital product, my work captures Love in its totality–the ups and the downs, the joys and the pains–and bridges the physical and the spiritual. With each creation, I invite you to pay homage to the past, feel in the present, and be forward-thinking to the future.
Levi Robinson, Artist/Muralist
My paintings and murals offer a visual perspective on what it is to be human living inside brown skin. I tell African American stories through my art. I feel a social responsibility to create images that depict black beauty, intelligence, and humanity in order to combat stereotypes and misinformation that have devalued the social standing of people who look
like me and share my culture. Further I wish to create a
dialogue that invites people into the conversation of what it is to be Black in these United States and to challenge them to see things through a different lens.
Most of my portraits and murals depict people in serene moments. Moments of rest and reflection. Being completely present in their particular moments as their lives, their thoughts, their emotions, are played out on canvas. Leaving the viewer wondering what the subject is experiencing in that moment. The titles of my pieces offer clues, but I leave the door open to the audience for interpretation.
There is an element of grunge in my work which intends to capture the spirit of finding beauty in unlikely places. Threaded through much of my work is the use of texture and color to evoke emotions. I use graphite, charcoal, pastels, acrylic, oil, watercolor and spray paint. Which allows me to explore a multitude of mediums, ranging from traditional canvases, wood and paper to murals. I apply media with brushes, sponges, palette knives and spray cans and I pull from every conceivable experience to shape my ideas and perspectives, to create socially impactful work in various mediums.
Abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher said... “Every artist dips his brush in his soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” That is fundamentally how I view myself as an artist.
Preston Sampson is a storyteller and colorist. Heavily influenced by Social Realism and the Ashcan School , artist such as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence,Reginald Marsh, are examples of his predecessors of social narrative painters. Telling stories of history and of the common mans plight. His University of Maryland mentors Sam Gilliam and David Driskell also have had major impacts on his artistic journey. Sampson emerged in the mid-1980s with works that elegantly merge the figurative with vibrant fluid color palettes, based on themes that depict the dignity and pride of the Black community.
His work can be seen in the collections at Yale University, the Library of Congress, University of Colorado, The David Driskell Center at University of Maryland, University of Alabama, University of Colorado, the Dallas Museum of African American Art, the Georgia State Museum, the Spirit Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Museo Della Carta della Filigrana in Fabriano Italy.
Luther Wright challenges the boundaries of traditional paintings as he merges old formal techniques with new modern techniques creating his own genre of art.
Because he is an explorer of the visual Arts , his style is to have no style at all . Luther explores new ways to use color , texture and strives to create interesting compositions within his Art. He draws inspiration from everyday situations , people , social media , youth ,as well as visions from his dream/meditation state.
Luther believes while dreaming/meditating we are able to enter other dimensions/parallel universes and as an artist he has the ability to bring those visions back into this existing plane for others to experience in the form of art. Art is captured energy and since energy is never lost just transferred Art can be used as an interface for energy.
Mayor’s Arts Award for Community Arts Advocate for 2021
PGCC Juried Art Exhibit 2011, 2nd Place
PGCC Juried Art exhibit 2012, 1st place
Rep Yo Grind Magazine Artist of the Year. 2016
Titan Indie Arts Award, Painter Drawer of the year. 2016
Titan Indie Arts Award, Painter Drawer of the year. 2017
Titan Indie Arts Award, Painter Drawer of the year. 2019
Zimstone Gallery, Artwork from the African Diaspora
Zimstone Gallery is fully committed to providing a range of services to those they come in contact with. Whether it’s assisting an artist with the tools of their trade, or assisting their customers in purchasing art as an investment and commence their own private collection. They consider it a privilege to be able to present what they regard as one of life’s most remarkable opportunities.
They consider it as an honor to travel to Zimbabwe to meet with some of the world’s most talented artists. They personally travel there and select works based on their beauty, value and cultural significance.
They are humbled to have had the opportunity to meet with some of the last living first generation (pre-independence) master sculptors. These artists produce sculptures that demonstrate the resiliency of the human spirit and we have been fortunate to be able to present their remarkable talents.
Their commitment to conducting business in a fair, equitable, and compassionate manner is fundamental to their mission.
We are excited to announce that Black Art Today!, LLC is now Black Art Today, Inc. Maryland Trade Name, The Black Art Today Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) Public Charity. The change is only in name and structure, as we remain committed to fulfill our mission to promote artists that depict the African Diaspora in the forms of visual arts, literature, and performing arts.
We value and request your continued support during and at the completion of this transition. We firmly believe that as we grow and mature as an organization so does the art community as a whole.