“Where does my greatest joy intersect with the world’s greatest need? Let me go there.”

brittany k. barnett

As we close out the year, many of us begin to reflect on how we spent and experienced these last twelve months and consider how we might change course in the new year. The winter chill lends itself to this sort of introspective work, where we can strike a balance between the past and the present, between reflection and planning. Following this line of thinking, this month’s newsletter features inspiration stories about artists whose work tracks the passage of time, connects a legacy of oppression to contemporary people, or allows the artist to reflect on personal memories during the art-making process. In a Culture Type feature, Calida Rawles is revered for her paintings that “bridge the past and the present.” Works in her first solo exhibition feature community members from Overtown, Miami, using the background of ocean waters to comment on the history of slavery and the resilience of her painting’s subjects. We also share a review of Keith Jackson’s recent solo exhibition “After These Messages,” in which Jackson’s paintings are described as, “grounded in the intimacies of domestic life and familial memory,” and attuned “to the interior details that distinguish his memories of bygone times.” According to Jackson, these scenes from “yesteryear” are timeless and universal images that root us in the present. Peruse these informative and topical reads as we wrap up 2023 and head into 2024! 

Our Seeds Stories highlight students who share about how their past experiences have led them to study at the League. Jerelin Marte conveys how, from a young age, art became a way to articulate her thoughts and emotions, leading to an appreciation for sketching people and places. As a student at a CTE high school in NYC, Jerelin takes classes at the League that count towards credit for her high school diploma. Kacia Diente writes about her encounter with an unhoused artist downtown who graciously gave her some of his artwork for free. This moment motivates her to make art more accessible to a wider audience, driving her desire to hone her own artistic talents through classes at the League.  

In 2023, Seeds supported 160 students through scholarships at the League. During this time, we’ve mentored several students on career readiness and college preparation, and have introduced our Seedlings to working professionals who’ve shared about their experiences coming up in their fields. In the community, we’ve served over 1,600 youth and adults through visual arts programming across Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. We look forward to expanding our reach and continuing to enrich the community with the League’s resources in the new year! 

Check back in January for our first newsletter of 2024! 

Katie White

In Her Home Studio, Soft-Sculpture Artist MiKyoung Lee Gives Form to Twist Ties, Pipe Cleaners, and Thread


“After These Messages” with Keith Jackson

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