Tomorrow, June 19, marks the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth – a holiday that recognizes the emancipation of African Americans and commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
Recognizing the historical significance of this day, CERF+ is celebrating and honoring Black artists and Black-led arts organizations by sharing some of the outstanding artists and organizations we’ve connected with over this past year.
Karen Smith – Metal Artist, 2021 COVID-19 Relief Grant Recipient, Oakland, California
Karen Smith is a metalsmith who designs and fabricates custom-made wearable art and small sculptures. She’s also the founder and Executive Director of a metalsmith training program for women and girls of African descent. The program, We Wield the Hammer, offers opportunities for artistic equity, economic empowerment, and access to a vocation that is often unavailable to women, particularly marginalized women and girls in the US and beyond. As part of the upcoming Smithsonian (virtual) Folklife Festival, Karen will be presenting “Passing the Torch: Senegalese Metalsmithing Across Geography and Gender” on June 27 at 11 am ET. Click here to learn more about Karen and her work.
Estelle Jackson – Basketry, 2020 Tornado Emergency Relief Grant Recipient / 2021 COVID-19 Relief Grant Recipient, Demopolis, Alabama
Estelle Jackson is an African American white oak basket maker from Demopolis, Alabama. She learned basket making as a young woman from her parents, who were traditional basket makers. In 2020 Estelle was featured in The Black Belt Artist Project, a collaborative project between the University of Alabama, Black Belt Treasures Cultural Center, and Canon Solutions America. Click here to watch a video interview of Estelle and the other artists featured in The Black Belt Artist Project.
Cherice Harrison-Nelson – Ceremonial Dress Artist, 2020 COVID-19 Relief Grant Recipient / 2021 Get Ready Grant Recipient, New Orleans, Louisiana
Harrison-Nelson is steeped in a West African rooted ceremonial dress art tradition, unique to African American communities in New Orleans. She is also the co-founder and curator of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame and a 2016 United States Artists Fellow. Cherice was recently featured in Resolve Magazine’s ongoing Profiles from the Pandemic Series. Click here to read the article and learn more about Cherice and her efforts to preserve and share the traditions and rituals of her community.
The Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN) is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 by Carolyn L. Mazloomi, a nationally acclaimed quilt artist and lecturer, to foster and preserve the art of quiltmaking among women of color. The WCQN supports its membership through presentations, providing venues for sharing technical information, grant writing, and other services. Click here to learn more about Carolyn L. Mazloomi and the work of the WCQN.
Community Artists’ Collective, Houston, Texas
The mission of the Community Artists’ Collective is to provide the educational and cultural link among African American artists and all communities to inspire unlimited creativity. In addition, the Collective offers inspirational and educational resources for artists and citizens so that they can use their talents and creative abilities to solve economic, cultural, and social challenges in the natural and built environments in which they live, work, and serve.
The Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) was founded in 2018 by Malene Barnett, an artist based in Brooklyn, NY, to combat the lack of representation of Black talent and culture in the design industry. Malene also serves on CERF+’s Board of Directors. BADG is a global platform representing a curated collective of independent Black artists, makers, and designers across various art and design disciplines who are at the top of their respective fields. Click here to learn more about their work to create a more inclusive art and design environment and provide visibility and opportunities for their members.