Cummings’ work can also be found in many books, Pioneering Quilt Artists 1960-1980 by Sandra Sider (2010), Masters/Art Quilts by Martha Sielman, 2008; the Japanese publication “Patchwork” (Tsushin, February 2011); Facts & Fabrications Unraveling the History of Quilts & Slavery by Barbara Brackman (2006), Spirits of the Cloth: Contemporary African American Quilts by Carolyn Mazloomi, A Communion of the Spirits: African-American Quilters. He illustrated a children’s book entitled In the Hollow of Your Hand. He has appeared on several local and national television programs including Martha Stewart and Home and Garden.
Cummings was commissioned by Emory University to create etchings for a limited edition and had a solo exhibition in Japan in 2011.
Cecily Barth Firestein
Sonia Gechtoff (1926-2018)
Greenwood has a graduate degree in Fine Arts from Hunter College, New York where she had the good fortune to study with masters such as Robert Motherwell and William Baziotes. She is the recipient of three grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Abby Austin Mural Arts Fellowship from the National Academy Museum. Additionally, she received a George Sugarman Award, a Ludwig Vogelstein grant and the Queens Council on the Arts Individual Artists Initiative Award. This year, she was awarded a NYFA Workshop Award, “Artist As Entrepreneur Boot Camp”.
In 2008 she was awarded a public art commission to create a permanent art installation for the International Airport in Jacksonville Florida. The work titled ”CLOUDSCAPES” consists of two 7 x 10 ft. mosaic tiled walls.
Greenwood exhibits her work widely and has had several solo exhibitions. She is currently exhibiting her work at the Katonah Museum, in Katonah, NY. Her work is represented in private and public collections including AT&T, Citicorp, CUNY Art Gallery, the Museum of American Folk Arts and Columbia Pictures Ltd.
Susan May Tell
Akili Ron Anderson
Lila Asher (1921-2021)
In my junior year I had a wonderful painting teacher on sabbatical from NYC. He told me I was an artist, needed to leave St. Louis and go to NYC, and helped me get accepted into the graduate painting program at Queens College, CUNY. At Queens, my goal was to discover and work with the artist in me that was not, in my words, “a western European male artist.” I did not want to be Cezanne. At the end of my first year I was making headway, working with folded fabric sewn to canvas, adding sand and paint. My mentor was encouraging. The graduate committee of 5 men did NOT like my direction. “You are using mixed media. We don’t think you are a serious artist. You need to go have babies and teach grade school.” I left. That was 1969, before feminism was on the scene.
In 1979 I entered a graduate program at Massachusetts College of Art. I needed to find out if I really was an artist, and if not, why I was still creating. I found a guru type mentor, delved into my creative self, and ended with a thesis and exhibit titled “Expanding Unconscious Sources: A Return to My Inner Self.” I had mapped my psyche, and created work from what Jung calls “the dark side of the feminine.”
Since that time (1982) I have created several distinct bodies of work in many media, mostly content driven and non-traditional. I have worked with plaster, latex, bones, metal, wood, bricks, fabric, photo transfer onto many materials, printmaking, collage, and paint, in forms ranging from sculpture, installation and assemblage, to more traditional subject matter using oil or acrylic on canvas and encaustic paint on wood. I have exhibited my work continuously since 1982, locally and nationally.
My life in art, and the arts in general, has been a big surprise to me. I have been a survivor of poverty, as well as a lack of models or encouragement, overt sexism, and of course of “artists’ oppression.” Despite these and other obstacles, my creative productivity has never wavered, and may possibly be stronger and more focused than ever.
James Brown Jr.
But, I now know that my body of work was influenced and shaped by the powerful energy of the 1960s, The Civil Rights Movement, the deaths of Malcolm, Medgar, & Martin. Black artists nationally and internationally developed the Black Arts movement.
This movement embraced the history, heritage, politics and culture of African people. The great James Brown sang “I’M BLACK and I’M PROUD” and Aretha Franklin sang “RESPECT”. During, the ‘60s & ‘70s the majority of my body of works was on paper.
I received a BA from the University of Florida, Tampa in 1975. Later, in 1987, I received a MFA from Howard University; my thesis was in Watercolor. I then began to translate the waters into 10 textile appliqué embroidered tapestries. Since that time I have become a textile/fiber artist creating with silk and wool fibers as a felter.
Lilian Thomas Burwell
Burwell attended the Little Red School House in Greenwich Village, this country’s first progressive school. She attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan. She returned then to her maternal heritage in Washington, D.C. to complete her secondary education at Dunbar High School, which at that time continued to graduate many of this country’s most prestigious African Americans. Returning to Brooklyn, New York, she received most of her professional training in art at Pratt Institute where she also taught during her teacher training. She credits years of studying with Benjamin Abramowitz as the greatest singular and specific influence on her art both in practice and philosophy. She finalized her undergraduate degree at the University of the District of Columbia after teaching art for over 14 years. She then earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Painting at Catholic University in consortium with American University during a sabbatical year.
In the eighty-fifth year of her life, she works nearly full time in her studio in Highland Beach near Annapolis, Maryland, continuing to create her cutting edge sculptural paintings which continue to evolve into newly explored media and installations.
Marilee Shapiro (1912-2020)
At the age of 89, Shapiro took her first computer graphics course at the Corcoran and now creates fluid, transparent and ethereal figures and images using her computer as an expressive painting tool. Over the past six decades, Marilee Shapiro has exhibited at the Smart Museum in Chicago, Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, locally at American University, Franz Bader Gallery, Washington Studio School, Studio Gallery, Cosmos Club and Warehouse Gallery, to name a few.
Knowing she would have to earn a living, she opted to major in commercial art, which required her to focus upon perfecting her drawing skills. It was in her first figure class that the instructor informed her that she was going to be a truly fine artist. Carmen has never looked back. Her ability to capture a likeness and her love of realism bring a calm but passionate response to ordinary subjects.
Her extensive and continuous academic training includes: the Corcoran School of Art; Pratt Institute; New York University; the Art Students’ League; Catholic University; and the Repin Institute Academy of Fine Art, St. Petersburg, Russia.
An instructor of fine art for the past 15 years she demonstrates watercolor, oil, and acrylic methods throughout the Washington, D.C. area, often travels abroad for artistic inspiration and source material, including trips to Africa, Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the Far East. Her artistic works hang in private, corporate, and public collections throughout the western world. She continues to participate in numerous exhibitions and competitions, and has received numerous recognitions and awards. In addition to being a representational artist, Carmen is a curator and an educator.
2010 – 2011
Betty Blayton (1937-2016)
Eva Deutsch Costabel
After arriving in New York she studied in Pratt Institute, Brooklyn under Franz Kline the famous New York abstract expressionist painter. He had a strong influence on her artistic development, introducing her to abstract art. And for the next thirty years she would paint in the abstract style.
In 1961, Grist moved to Madrid, Spain. His first stay in Europe was cut short when he was drafted and served in the United States Army.
After serving he returned to Europe, where he was invited to participate in the International Symposium: First Painters’ Weeks. This project was hosted by the Austrian Government and Black and Decker Tools.
In 1969, Grist exhibited works at two newly established outlets: The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Cinque Gallery.
Selected exhibitions of his works include: 2015, Omni Contemporary Art Gallery, Freeport, NY – Solo show; 2011, ArtCart, Macy Art Gallery, Columbia University, NY; 2007, The Parish Gallery, Washington, DC; 2000, The Broome Street Gallery, NY: “Ray Grist: Paintings from the 90s” (solo show); 199425th Anniversary Exhibition, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; 1992, American House, Munich, Germany; 1992, Moira Fine Arts Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal;1984, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY: “Ray Grist: Passages, 1974-1984” (solo show); 1974, Alaska State Museum, Juneau, Alaska (solo show);1974 Gallery Chemould, Bombay, India.
Her art has been widely exhibited in solo and group shows in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Europe, and is in many distinguished collections including The Corcoran Gallery of Art; Rose Art Museum; Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Vienna; The Jewish Museum of Vienna; Yad Vashem Museum, Jerusalem; Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Rowan University, and other public and private collections.
Kurz has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including, among others, a Fulbright Fellowship to France; American Center Residency in Paris; New York State Council on the Arts CAPS Grant; Austrian Federal Ministry of the Arts Artist-In-Residence in Vienna; Atlantic Center for the Arts and residencies at Yaddo and McDowell Colony. She has taught studio art at Queens College, Pratt Institute, Philadelphia College of Art, Cleveland Institute of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Peter Ruta (1918-2016)