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Friday, March 24, 2023

Meet the artists celebrates 30 years

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An anniversary celebration is coming this weekend and you are invited. 

Meet the Artists is celebrating 30 years as one of the city’s most popular art exhibits. A variety of special guests will help launch this year’s showcase during the Meet the Artists Gala on Feb. 10 at Central Library. 

Actress Vivica Fox will participate in an awards ceremony for local artists. 

Several performers will contribute to the fun, including poet Tasha Jones, illusionist Walter “The Spellbinder” King, the Epiphany Dance Collective, the Ground Zero Band and the Indianapolis Metro Chapter of Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc.

Family activities include appearances from Cinnamon the Clown, Lynn Johnson’s jewelry workshop, a fashion show, a 3D pop art workshop and big games and interactive gadgets in the Learning Curve. 

“We’re definitely excited about reaching our 30th year,” said Tony Radford, a local mixed media artist and founding curator of Meet the Artists. “This is a cultural event and we invite the community to celebrate with us.” 

From now until April 1, the Meet the Artists exhibit will present the works of 11 prominent African-American artists who have displayed a variety of items from unique paintings to mixed-media creations and quilts. 

Since 1988, Meet the Artists has been one of the city’s most popular art exhibitions. It is presented by the Indianapolis Library and guests of all ages can view several different types of artistic works during regular library hours. 

Radford, who has shown leadership as part of the library’s African-American History Committee, developed the idea for Meet the Artists after seeing the work of the late Joe Holiday, recognized by many connoisseurs as the “the dean” of local Black artists. 

Impressed with and inspired by Holiday’s art, Radford wondered why it had never been displayed in a public venue. Meet the Artists came into existence as the interest in highlighting Holiday’s work expanded into a successful effort to do the same for other artists. 

African-American artists from Indiana have an opportunity to not only display their work, but also celebrate the heritage of Black art with the community, which Radford describes as the oldest but least celebrated form of art. 

“There aren’t many African-American galleries where we can showcase our work,” Radford said. “This event provides a way for artists to have exposure and network with different people in the art world.” 

This year’s theme, Shades of Pearl Showcase, pays tribute to those visual artists who were instrumental in the success of Meet the Artists and experienced growth in their careers by participating in the program.  

Featured works include those by visual artists James Pate, Kevin West, Mason Archie, Michael Jordan, Lobyn Hamilton and Roderic Trabue. They are joined by photographer Bing Davis, quilt artist LaShawnda Crowe-Storm and mixed media artists D. Del Reverda-Jennings and Samuel E. Vazquez. 

Creations from other visual artists will be exhibited in the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. These include those by Chrystopher Burns (acrylic), Kimberly Winfrey (quilts) and Omar Rashan (acrylic). Also on display will be youth art from students at Art With a Heart and IPS Floro Torrence School 83.

Meet the Artists XXX will also host the First Friday event on March 2 from 6-9 p.m. at Central Library. It will include tours of the Meet the Artists XXX exhibit, painting demonstrations by participating artists, youth workshops, author book signings and more.

Meet the Artists is made possible by the support of the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Dr. Michael R. Twyman Endowment Fund and gifts to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.

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