An unforgettable experience is in store for everyone who enjoys outstanding art, and would appreciate an opportunity to witness the African-American heritage.
From now until March 23, the annual Meet the Artists exhibit will be on display inside the Central Library downtown at 40 E. St. Clair St.
One of the city’s most popular art exhibitions, Meet the Artist showcases the work of both established and new African-American artists from Indiana, and presents other fun activities for the entire family.
Guests of all ages can view several different types of artistic works during regular library hours of service, while enjoying cultural entertainment at the same time. This year’s theme is “World Outside My Window: A Silver Soiree.”
Among this year’s featured artists are Al Brown (acrylics, water color pencil), Regina Brown (dolls), LaShawndra Crowe-Storm (mixed media and quilts), Dennis Green (sculptor), Michele Wood (acrylics and book illustrator), Flora Jefferson (handmade jewelry), D. DelRevereda-Jennings, Brittany Tate and several others.
Meet the Artist is presented by the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. It is made possible by gifts from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation and an organization known as Friends of the Library.
“We will have 15 great and talented artists that will be doing everything from scenes to sculptures, the whole gamut,” said Anthony “Tony” Radford, a local mixed media artist and founding curator of Meet the Artist.
Radford, who works for the library and serves on its African-American History Committee, developed the idea for Meet the Artists after encountering the work of the late Joseph Holiday, who was recognized by many connoisseurs as the “the dean” of local Black artists. Impressed with Holiday’s art, Radford wondered why it had never been displayed in a public venue.
That experience inspired Radford to approach library officials about hosting an event displaying the talents of Black artists, and the first Meet the Artist exhibit was organized. That event attracted about 250 guests, and now the annual showcase has grown to attract thousands of individuals.
“We are definitely excited about being in our 25th year,” Radford said. “We encourage people to come celebrate with us, feel the art and meet the artists and talk to them about their pieces. It’s a family oriented and educational event where you will see a lot of great art and performances.”
Organizers invite the entire community to personally meet and mingle with artists during the Meet the Artists gala reception on the evening of Feb. 9 from 5:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Central Library.
Special guest performers will include national recording artists Lamar Campbell & The Spirit of Praise Choir, Staci McCrackin and the Euphony Band, illusionist and magician Walter “The Spellbinder” King Jr., and poets Tasha Jones, Gabrielle Patterson and Kadiesha Ricks.
“Walter King, for example, will tell an interesting story on the history of Black illusionists that most people have never even heard of,” Radford said. “It’s a learning experience and also a celebration of our history and culture.”
This year’s gala will also include the Sterling Designer Showcase Fashion Show, coordinated by architect and award-winning fashion designer Alpha Blackburn.
In addition, during the gala Tammy Sutton-Brown of the Indiana Fever, and author of the children’s book Cree & Scooter Hit the Slopes in British Columbia, will read to children. Sutton-Brown will join other local African-American authors for book sales and signings throughout the evening.
Youth will be able to enjoy a workshop for them presented by Art With a Heart.
Organizers say this year’s Meet the Artists event is an affair that should not be missed, especially by those who have not had the opportunity to see the annual showcases.
Flora Jefferson, an artist who has used several mediums, was encouraged by her son-in-law to get involved in this year’s Meet the Artist exhibit, where she is displaying handmade jewelry.
“I’ve been making jewelry for a long time, and he encouraged me to be a part of Meet the Artists,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for local artists to showcase what they can do. A lot of people still may not know about the event and this is a chance for them to see the talents of artists in their own city.”