September 19, 2022 (Tampa Bay, FL) – Local artist Ya La’ford was selected by the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Foundation to create a sculpture on the grounds of the new District building at the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Dale Mabry Campus. La’ford has a long-time collaboration with HCC. Her exhibit “Distance” debuted in Gallery 221@HCC’s Dale Mabry Campus in 2021. She painted the entire gallery black as a metaphor for the “darkness that descended on 2020.”
“I am very excited about the addition of Ya’s sculpture to the new District Administration Building. Her inspiring piece will elevate the physical beauty of the grounds while celebrating the aspirational work being done every day by our students, faculty, and staff,” said HCC President Dr. Ken Atwater.
Gallery 221@HCC Director, Amanda Poss, feels Ya La’ford’s iconic geometric pattern embedded with themes of transformation and transcendence resonates powerfully with the growth and changes occurring at HCC and the region. “Her work reminds us that despite the uncertainty of our rapidly evolving world, there is also so much beauty to be discovered in the complexity of our shared human experiences,” says Poss.
Adding, “I am delighted that this commission of a new sculpture allows us to further share her work with audiences in Tampa. I look forward to the stimulating conversations this artwork will surely bring among our students, faculty, and staff for years to come.”
As a first-generation American who moves between her Jamaican heritage and vulnerable communities to find a universal language, much of La’ford’s community engagement is often centered around youth programming, and she believes everyone should have access to quality education.
“I am honored that my artwork was chosen to begin HCC’s public art collection. Through art, education, and connection with community, we inspire the next generation to become lifelong learners, which benefits our society as a whole,” says La’ford.
“It is a privilege for my wife Rebecca and I to underwrite – via the HCC Foundation – a commission by artist Ya La’ford to create a public sculpture. Her work and philosophy align with HCC’s mission “to transform lives” for all,” says Paul Nagy, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Analysis at HCC.
La’ford was the 2021 Superbowl artist chosen to create the artwork gift to commemorate the event for the NFL team owners. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Vinik Family Foundation, and Nike. La’ford has exhibited at the Ringling Museum of Art, Ogden Contemporary Art Museum (OCA), Venice Biennale Activation Projects, Asia Contemporary Art Show, the Yeelen Gallery in Miami, the Tampa Museum of Art, along with other museums and galleries. She is a mural artist and land artist with outdoor public art projects dotting the region. A public sculpture underway to be sited at the new West River redevelopment in downtown Tampa will be unveiled this month.
About Ya La’ford
Ya Levy La’ford, was born in New York. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida, and a Masters in Fine Arts from Art Institute of Boston. La’ford is a professor, visual painter, installation artist, and muralist. Her art aims to mobilize citizens to challenge conventional thinking, understand the intrinsic value of exercising creative license within their communities, and explore art as a lifelong treasure. For more information on the artist, please visit www.yalaford.com
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