Hyde Park Art Center, South Cornell Avenue, Chicago, IL, USA
Intersectional Touch highlights the multilayered art practices and a genuine interest in humanity demonstrated by the artists participating in the 2019 Center Program. The program is the Art Center’s professional development initiative for artists ready to challenge their art work through experimentation, research, and critique while growing their peer community during a six-month course.
I wrote this song in 2005. It was inspired by a visit to the home of art collector Patric McCoy. First performed at Links Hall as part of Columbia College's Glass Layers Festival. Glass Layers provides a performance venue to graduates of their Interdisciplinary Arts Program.
You may also view this video by clicking on the "Links" page.
This is a clip from EnCLOTHEsure, an interdisciplinary piece I did in grad school. EnCLOTHEsure explored issues surrounding the body and body image, all in a pastiche of art, sculpture and music. Featuring Divalicious as GodMother, and Nieceylicious as The Model. Music composed by Juarez Hawkins and Wanda Bishop.
You may also view this video by clicking on the "Links" page.
I believe creativity can flourish in a safe, supportive environment. Toward this end, I create learning spaces where students are encouraged to move past any sense of limitation to create quality work they can be proud of. Often, the non-traditional and/or disadvantaged populations I serve have gaps in their education or artistic training. I draw upon my experience as a K-12 educator to coax out engaging work without shaming, while encouraging stronger study habits and artistic skill-building.
As an actively working professional artist, my passion for art as a practice goes beyond the theoretical. I believe students interested in an art career should be provided with the tools to establish themselves in the marketplace. My years of exhibition experience lend a real, direct understanding of the rigors of a professional practice. Moreover, my experiences as a self-employed artist bring to the classroom a real-world understanding of the business of art. I support this by exposing students to other industry professionals, via gallery talks, studio visits and in-class presentations.
I am involved in developing art consumers as well as producers; both should be well-informed about the art they see, and comfortable interpreting and critiquing said art. I believe in the importance of teaching history so students can see how shifts in a society are reflected in its art trends. To facilitate student engagement with art, I present them with modern and contemporary works that touch upon issues central to their own lives. I created Art on Trial, a series of controversial works and related questions designed to foster lively classroom debate. I am particularly interested in the work of minority and non-western artists, and am committed to presenting such art in tandem with mainstream work. I continue to actively research this area, utilizing both academic resources as well as the rich history embedded in Chicago's artistic communities, to present an array of art as diverse as the people who create it.
In order to produce technologically proficient students, technology-based tools must be part of the classroom and curriculum. I provide access to web-based study tools (such as the QUIZZART flash card files I developed), and integrate popular digital media (blogs, YouTube, social media) into my course offerings. Course management tools (such as Mediafire and ConnectArt) streamline the administrative part of my job and provide a vehicle for sharing assignments and other materials with students.
I hope to foster a community of lifelong learners who continue to critically engage with art, who see art not as something stuffy and detached from their reality, but as a vital part of the world in which they live.
I was one of two featured speakers for this event. My talk focused on the ways the African American communities keep the arts alive in their neighborhoods.
Art has traditionally been viewed as an individual representation of beauty and aesthetics, but how does art extend beyond this definition by acting as a vehicle for community expression? For both the Ukrainian and African American communities in Chicago, art has been utilized as a valuable tool for re-imagining social history and projecting their own voices. This event links the rise of recent artistic practices to the development of cultural identity and imagination. Discover how DuSable Museum of African American History and the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art have been providing artists spaces to share stories while strengthening the bonds of their respective communities.
LISTEN TO THE WBEZ PODCAST: Click on the "Links" page to hear my lecture. I'm the second speaker, about an hour into the podcast.
When I finished Northwestern, I looked for ways to support myself as an artist. While holding down a data processing job, I started a small business out of my home to launch a line of holiday cards I’d designed. Warm Brown Greetings was a modest success; I sold the cards in stores and through a network of sellers. I started taking art and graphic design courses part-time, initially with an eye toward creating a better greeting card. I disbanded my little company three years later, but continued my classes and illustration work. Publications that feature my work include Mother Tongues, The Bull-Jean Stories, Tales of a Woojiehead, The Literary Xpress, and the WGCI Calendars of African American Art.
Over the next three summers, I began participating in local art fairs, primarily as a sketch artist. I enjoyed working live in public, but disliked being subject to the caprices of nature. My first gallery show in 1990 got me out of the elements. It also gave me a chance to flex some digital muscle. I created an animation my work, which I installed on a kiosk amidst the paintings on display. A number of my subsequent exhibitions have had a performance and/or digital component.
In 1991, I left data processing to work as a freelance graphic artist. I also continued to exhibit regularly, averaging several group shows a year. Affiliations with Woman Made Gallery and the Sapphire and Crystals collective helped advance my career. These groups exposed me to a wide array of creative women, resources and ideas, while helping me grow as an exhibiting artist.
By 1998, I’d tired of life in front of a computer. I’d been teaching between freelance gigs (City Colleges, Gallery 37, Little Black Pearl Workshop), and looked to expand my credentials. I enrolled in Columbia College’s Interdisciplinary Arts Graduate Program. My thesis work was a performance piece that combined original music (mine) and sculptural “garments” that addressed the nature of adornment.
After graduation, I taught art at the elementary and secondary levels, establishing residencies in various schools around the city. Working with Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, I specialized in arts integration, using art to enhance and reinforce academic lesson plans. I was awarded two Oppenheimer Teacher Incentive Grant Awards for my integrated curricula. Meanwhile, I developed performance work for Columbia’s Glass Layers Festival and performed around the city as a singer with the Drum Divas, a local drum ensemble.
I currently teach at Chicago State University, where my course offerings include drawing, ceramics, art appreciation, and African-American Art.