Celebrate Diversity: Black Artists in Lynchburg (2016)
Each day in February 2016, we showcased the work of a different Black artist in Lynchburg. Each profile includes the artist's biography, selected examples of their work, and a short interview with the artist. Posters of each artist and their work were placed in prominent areas across Lynchburg, to further promote the awareness of Black art in the city.
In all, 26 artists participated, including photographers, dancers, musicians, poets, actors, producers, novelists, painters, graphic designers, choreographers, and DJs.
To celebrate the conclusion of the project, on Saturday, February 27th, project participants came together for a night of live performances. “Origins,” an event co-hosted by the Arts Council and The Listening, featured more than a dozen artists sharing short pieces of spoken word poetry, dance, and visual art that speak to their cultural and artistic origins. Open to the public, this special event was family-friendly and a great opportunity to learn about new artists to follow in 2016.
In all, almost 200 people attended the event, with rave reviews and agreements that we need more inclusive arts performances in Lynchburg in the months and years to come.
The purpose of the project is to:
- Showcase the works of Black artists in and around Lynchburg, Virginia
- Bring awareness to emerging Black artists and their work
- Celebrate the richness that a diverse population of artists bring to our local community
Why is this issue important?
Individuals from minorityand other historically-disadvantaged groups are dramatically underrepresented in the arts. Nearly four out of every five people who make a living in the arts in this country are white, according to an analysis of 2012 Census Bureau data by BFAMFAPhD, a collective of artists dedicated to understanding the rising cost of artistry.
Many thanks to our collaborators, sponsors and partners:
View the "Celebrate Diversity" artists:
As the month of February progresses, you can see each of the artists profiled so far in the gallery below...
Tonya Rivers is a singer/songwriter hailing from Lynchburg, VA by way of Philadelphia, PA. Her interest in becoming a musician began at a very young age by way of encouragement from her friends and family.
Robert Pennix, born in Lynchburg, Va., started drawing at a very young age, began photography in college, and has had a successful career as a Culinary Professional.
Whether playing the drums or discovering his next song singing in the shower, Jones’ method to his lyrical madness is, simply put, staying clean. Writing nearly all songs in the shower to the extent of creating show ideas and video concepts, here Jones finds his inspiration flows like water.
Ruth has four years of experience in helping Women find their true value. Ruth is looking to share her art through social media (i.e. Facebook and LinkedIn). She has formed a business called “I Value Me.” Her business consists of dancing, modeling, singing and motivational speaking.
DJ Ed, also known as Jack Edma, was born in the United States but lived most of his young life in the Republic of Haiti in the Caribbean. Now, the young, aspiring artist who listened to music and DJs on his battery-operated radio in the dead of the night in Haiti, is an emerging DJ and music producer, using his art as a way to honor his mother, and to impact and inspire the world.
Nakesha Moore is on her way to becoming well known in the world of contemporary poetry. A tortured childhood, abusive relationships, and grief are all subjects Nakesha has chosen to delve into honestly.
DCK's passion for music started around 3 years ago when he was inspired to use his personal struggles to encourage himself and eventually others. From being ridiculed for being different in high school to struggling to adjust to college life, DCK has learned to put it all in his music.
Heather Elizabeth King is the author of paranormal mysteries and paranormal romance. Some of her favorite memories are of telling stories to her girlfriends at slumber parties when she was a pre-teen.
G-Taylor is a Renaissance Musician and Artist with a great hold on music and a crossover movement into science and the Cosmos.
Geral Butler is pursuing her passion for painting full time since retiring from a 31 year career as an art teacher in Lynchburg, VA, Rowland Heights, California and in Rustburg, VA.
Shaquawna Shawnte' is a passionate singer/song writer with a soulful sound and a sassy demeanor originating from Washington D.C., raised in Lynchburg, VA. She is now working diligently on her solo career and will be releasing her EP titled "No Love Lost" early 2016.
Royal Shirée is a playwright, fiction and non-fiction writer, storyteller, and actor specializing inoriginal solo shows. Her work has been produced by Lynchburg College, Randolph College,Waterworks Players Theatre, Leading Ladies in New York, and Live Arts Charlottesville.
Peter is a Singer/ songwriter/ musician, and today he’s working on music to express himself, glorify God, and inspire others. He attended Arts High School for the performing arts and is pursuing school in Lynchburg, VA.
Nikos Hawkins is an aspiring poet/visual artist from our very own Diamond Hill historic district. A frequent writer and community enthusiast, Nikos has a strong passion for creative arts and all that encapsulates the human experience.
For Clyde Trent, photography is an accumulation of learning to see the beauty that exists within all things. The photographic experience has given him a set of tools to render ordinary subjects into extraordinary color, form and texture.
KillGXXD is a creator with 11 years of experience. His primary creative work is music production & dj’n. KillGXXD also has his hands in photography & ministry work.
Nadia Sneed, 12 years old, has been dancing for about 9 years. She was under the direction of Keith Lee for 8 years and joined his professional company, Keith Lee Dances in the summer of 2015.
Tony Camm is an actor, writer, performing and recording artist, and creative force. Influenced by popular culture spanning from the 1960s to today, he launched his recording and acting career at age 50, and is currently involved in several projects in stage, film, and music.
T. A. writes creative non-fiction and creates visual art every chance she gets, but her first love is live storytelling, a traditional art form in which the teller’s job is to co-create the story with the audience through call-and-response, introspective questions and audience participation activities.
Tarsha is owner and head Treat Maker at Mrs. Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats. Even though Tarsha likes dabbling in various mediums (clay, watercolor, fabric, digital, etc.) her mainstay at this time is in edible art where her creativity is expressed through bespoke cakes and artisan cookies.
Lauren 16 year old is a self taught artist from the Lynchburg area. Drawing for as long as she can remember, art has a very special place in her heart. “It relaxes my mind from all the demands and stress of life,” she says.
Nick George is a spoken word poet and founder of The Listening. By connecting the worlds of mentoring and the performing arts, Nicholas plans to use The Listening to show the community of Lynchburg that lives can literally be saved and changed with the performing arts.
Anthony Andrews, Co-owner/designer of the men’s accessory line, Twenty23, says he’s been “dressing up” as long as he can remember. Anthony, a Lynchburg native, is a self-taught haberdasher with a lifelong love for fashion and a dream of entrepreneurship. Anthony is committed to helping the average male and young man dress to their full potential. The goal is to re-establish the gentleman.
Jennifer Lipford Petticolas is a playwright, performer, director, lyricist, and retired educator. She is native of Lynchburg, Virginia. She graduated of Dunbar High School in Lynchburg, Virginia and earned a Master’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Lynchburg College.
Keith Lee has been composing dances since 1968. These works have been performed by distinguished dance institutions such as American Ballet Theatre and the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble. Today, Mr. Lee nurtures his artistic instinct with the choreographic revival, Keith Lee Dances.
Stan Webb is President of Webb Graphics, a full service graphic design company located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Since 1997, the firm has offered graphic design, illustration, brochures, catalogs, ads, billboards, web design and graphics, logo design and animation.