Continuing the Legacy of Community Artistic Expression Building
Within my community art projects I strive to continue building upon the blueprint of other Black and Brown peoples that believed that the arts and creative expression are as essential to breathing air. Below are some examples that highlight my community art programming.
The Clay Studio of Philadelphia and Cecil B. Moore Library
Clay, Play, Read!
Griot Story Guardian Sculptures
This was a wonderful project where we explored the intersection between clay making, literacy and storytelling with The Clay Studio of Philadelphia and Cecil b. Moore Library in Philadelphia.
I was inspired by the importance of West African griots in particular. We all have our storytellers in our various cultures. Griots are vital to their communities and they are key to passing down the information for and from generations.
In this project I wanted participants to know that they are Griots too and they each carry their own story and experienced that if shared we can learn from or enjoy. Each community member took the time to create a clay figure that represented them or a story that they knew.
Each one of these sculptures was made to guard the stories and passion of each creator. They now sit permanently in the Cecil B. Moore Library in North Philadelphia to guard the other stories and be enjoyed by others.
To learn more about these projects click the links below:
The African American Museum in Philadelphia
Anna Russel Jones Exhibition
Anna Russel Jones was an African American artist, nurse, illustrator and textile designer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jones became the first African American graduate of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Along with the first African American woman from Philadelphia to join the Armed Forces during World War II.
After coming from the war, Jones went to school at Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington D.C where she studied medical illustration. Afterwards, Jones returned to Philadelphia and worked and Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia as a nurse and later as an medical illustrator.
In this project youth and families engaged in learning about medical illustration as Anna Russel Jones may have done. There were options of learning about the hand, eyeball and heart. This also encouraged conversations of creative careers.
Learn more about Anna Russel Jones and the exhibition here:
Chestnut Hill Library: Free Library of Philadelphia
Philadelphia Museum of Art: