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!
Knowing What’s Important
Filipino / African American
I hope that people like Vlad will continue to make art regardless of any kind of profit. He never asked for money once, and people like that know what’s important: creating and sharing art for its own sake. I aspire to make art accessible to people like him, and everyone interested in the art world.
I appreciate the process of capturing the intricate details of a setting, as well as the light and the shadows that make up the subtleties of a character. It is these moments of recreating personal memories in my art that help me appreciate the external beauty of life.
Looking to Branch Out
My main goal, as of now, is to be a sculptor on stop-motion animation films. I love creating expressions and textures to bring characters and sets to life. I would also like to be an illustrator and developer of game designs and programs because the idea of taking simple code and turning it into an entire game seems so fascinating.
In Her Home Studio, Soft-Sculpture Artist MiKyoung Lee Gives Form to Twist Ties, Pipe Cleaners, and Thread