April 28 at Ringling College of Art and Design
Is there a nationwide renaissance of art by Black and African American artists? If so, is their work being embraced within American museums and galleries—or it continuing to be sidelined? This panel discussion will explore issues revolving around the role of the Black artist in today’s society.
(March 17, 2022) The prolific creative output of Black and African-American visual artists has attained a dynamism not found since the early 1970s. Have America’s museums and major art institutions given due recognition and exhibition space for their work? They claim to have overcome institutional racism. Is that the truth, or public relations? To investigate these issues, Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative (SBAC) presents “Black Identity in the Arts: Generational Perspectives,” a free panel discussion exploring the role of contemporary Black artists, Thursday, April 28, 6-8 p.m., at Ringling College of Art and Design’s Larry Thompson Academic Center. The panel will be moderated by Sheila McKoy, a public art consultant. Panelists include Kiron B. Robinson, Greg Rumph, and Krystle Lemonias. The event is free, but registration is required. To register, visit https://form.jotform.com/220736606484156. For more information about the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, visit www.suncoastblackartscollaborative.org.
Michéle Des Verney Redwine, the founder and executive director of the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, notes that this discussion will touch on SBAC’s recent “Visions in Black” initiative, created to help regional college and graduate students of color, who are also emerging artists, discover opportunities to promote and exhibit their art. The exhibit also includes local artists of African descent. The program’s significant funder is Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Additional funders include the Cordelia Lee Beattie Foundation, and Sarasota Magazine, the event’s media sponsor. The exhibit culminated with a juried exhibition of works at Art Center Sarasota in January 2022. The judges for the exhibition were Shelia McKoy and Alyssia Lazin. Clifford McDonald won first prize; Gregory Rumph won second prize; and Jeannette Bradley won third prize. Kiron Robinson and Joelle St Julien received honorable mentions.
Moderator and Panelists:
Moderator: Sheila D. McKoy, a public art and creative placemaking expert and consultant, has successfully produced over 150 public arts projects at transit facilities throughout the transportation system serving the state of New Jersey. She has managed the selection of many artists around the nation, overseeing contract negotiations with contractors and artists alike. She has also connected communities, consultants, architects, and engineers, guiding the process of integrating artwork into the transportation system. McKoy served as president of the Newark Arts’ board of directors from the 2013-2017 and was a trustee for 10 years. She currently serves as co-chair on the board of the Art and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota and the Association of Florida Teaching Artists.
Panelist: Krystle Lemonias is an interdisciplinary visual artist, labor activist, and arts educator, who was born in Haiti. Her work has been shown in such exhibitions as “Hindsight 2020: A Year Later” at the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, and “Make America What America Must Become” at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans. Lemonias is primarily influenced by her research on social class privilege, citizenship, labor rights, and how economic inequality affects black communities. She sees her work as a tool to encourage the education of cultural identity to this population and its connection to the broader diaspora. Her dedication to the visual artist is an important contribution to the record of contemporary Black art and history. She acquired a BFA in printmaking from New Jersey City University in 2018 and is currently a master’s in fine arts candidate at the University of South Florida, Tampa, graduating in May 2022.
Panelist: Kiron Binsworth Robinson is a multi-disciplinary artist from Trelawny, Jamaica, who studies design, animation and illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design. As an immigrant artist living in mixed culture environments, Robinson cares about the gestalt, specifically how the things he does and creates fits into the greater narrative of his life and the representation of his community. Robinson’s art focuses on portraiture and motifs to synthesize moments in time with dreams and manifestations. Mixing surreal aspects with portraits that draw you into several strings of thought at once, his pieces ask: “What have you done for yourself, and for others? Are you happy with it?”
Panelist: Gregory Rumph was introduced to art by copying his father’s drawings as a youngster. He nurtured that curiosity and refined his skills and talents over the years. In 1998, he received a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design in 1998. After several years of freelancing, Rumph was recruited to teach in the Visual and Performing Arts program at Booker Middle School in Sarasota where he taught for 15 years. He furthered his experiences in education to be eventually become an administrator, which is his current role. His current assignment is assistant principal at Booker High School overseeing the Visual and Performing Arts program. His work is in the collection of the National Civil Rights Museum and various private collections across the country.
For more information about the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, visit www.suncoastblackartscollaborative.org.
About the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative
Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative was established in 2018 to promote greater exposure of Black artists and their work through advocacy, education, and collaboration. Visit www.suncoastblackartscollaborative.org.