Incarceration and Creation: Art as a Human Need

Exhibited from September 17 – November 17, 2021

Works of artists by currently or formerly incarcerated individuals. Visitors were asked to consider a human being’s intrinsic need for creative expression. One might assume that imagination and creativity cannot thrive within a system that was designed to strip individuals of their humanity, but the work of these artists reveals that even the most oppressive conditions cannot extinguish ingenuity and self-expression.

Even in a prison, where demoralization is a given and materials often come few and far between, both budding and established artists are creating bodies of work depicting their thoughts, dreams, feelings, and ideas — art that serves as a mode of communication, a vehicle for connection, and a source of freedom.

This exhibit was created in partnership with the Justice Arts Coalition.

Art can remind us of our shared humanity, of our common struggles and sacrifices, and that every one of us has unique gifts and a unique story to share. To create a work of art – a song, a dance, or a poem – within the barren confines of prison is truly a courageous and liberating act – a reclaiming of identity, of possibility, of worth, a demand to be visible.

Artists on exhibit:

Carole Alden, Valentino Amaya, Danny Ashton, Greg Bolden, Conor Broderick, William Brown, Michael Bryant, Lesley Rae Burdick, Jon Cashion, Joshua Earls, Harry Ellis, JaRoy Gilmer, Gary Harrell, Corey Hayes, Brian Hindson, William B. Livingston III, Robert Odom, Kid Wif Da Crayons (KW/DC), Henry David Potwin, James Sepesi, Mike Tran, R. Zumar, Alaska, Tomàs

ARTINA 2021: Balancing Act

Exhibit from August 4 –  November 6, 2021.

A juried exhibit featuring 12 original works created by 10 local artists who are members of the Washington Sculptors Group.

In this exhibit, artists respond to the concept of balance, which is a dynamic force of nature and constantly in flux.  The world is out of kilter, with natural as well as social systems listing to extremes. “What we need,” we say, “is balance; balance must be restored.” But what do we mean by “balance” and what is our relationship to it?  What has the chaos of the past year taught us about the human need for balance?  Can we ever achieve balance or is it an elusive chimera?

On Exhibit
Struggle (1) and Within a Dark Forest (2) by Adam Bradley;  Dean (1) and Olympia (2) by Annie Farrar; Brae by Stephanie Garon; Unearthing the Roots by Dalya Luttwak; On the Edge by Mary Opasik; About to Fly by Sookkyung Park; Coextensive Coexistance by Marc Robarge; Mother Earth II by Belen Sorzana; Balance Counterbalance by Veronica Szalus; Accident by Ira Tattelman

About the Juror
Twylene Moyer, editor of Sculpture magazine, has published in a wide range of periodicals, monographs, and catalogues. She is the co-editor of five books on contemporary sculpture, including The New Earthwork: Art, Action, Agency. In addition to serving as a juror for a variety of shows, she curated “Insight Out” and “Disintegration,” two exhibitions of site-specific, outdoor works for the Arlington Arts Center.

Click here to view a map of the exhibit.

Path Of Pyramids – Outdoor Sculpture Walk

On exhibit March 20 – May 31, 2021

All the way from Wheaton!  An outdoor exhibit of 13 human-sized pyramids designed by Montgomery County Artists. Come take a walk along the “Path of Pyramids.”

What started as a mascot for the annual Wheaton Arts Parade grew into a juried art exhibit.  Each of the large pyramid sculptures was created by a local artist and they all speak to Wheaton’s diverse cultures. One is a mosaic that was made with 3 families as a tribute to their Salvadoran heritage. Another features images from the artist’s Peruvian culture. A third is made of mandalas inspired by the artist’s native Costa Rica. One Montgomery Green collaborated with one local artist to create a pyramid using non-recyclable #6 plastics.

The pyramids are regular tetrahedrons made up of four equilateral triangles.  The heart of Wheaton also is a triangle created by the intersection of three state highways and the annual Wheaton Arts Parade marches around the triangle, bringing together Wheaton’s citizens, cultures, and commerce with art.

I Am More Than My Hair

I Am More Than My Hair began with Alyscia Cunningham’s eponymous book and film in which she advances the dialogue around the beauty standard of female baldness and captures the stories of girls and women who have lost their hair due to medical conditions or by choice. “If you look towards the media to define what’s beautiful, baldness is not a look that is considered attractive,” says Ms. Cunningham. She notes that from the time girls are young, they are pressured into set beauty standards, with a high value placed on hair.  Through this project, Ms. Cunningham hopes to change the way people view beauty, female hair loss, and baldness.

“Every woman, young and old, needs to know that she is naturally beautiful. Stop allowing society to dictate our beauty.”

The exhibit further breaks barriers of accessibility through its use of lithophanes, raised reliefs that interact with light, to create a unique experience.  The issue of accessibility became of paramount importance to Ms. Cunningham after attending a meeting of the National Federation of the Blind last year. “It was shocking to learn about the lack of accessibility in the arts and how blind and low vision audiences aren’t considered.  I left the meeting feeling inspired enough to make it mandatory that any venue, gallery, or museum that requests my work, must agree that it will be made accessible for audiences with low vision and hearing.” Audio descriptions will also accompany the works.

About The Artist
Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, Alyscia Cunningham is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, filmmaker, and photographer who contributes to National Geographic, Discovery Channel, America Online, and the Smithsonian Institution. Her work focuses on changing the dialogue around beauty standards for women through documentary film and unaltered photography. After the success of her first book, Feminine Transitions: A Photography Celebration of Natural Beauty, she continued to inspire social change with her new book and documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair.

Anthony Gaskins, The Hat Man

On exhibit March 19 – May 28, 2021

A collection of handcrafted hats by artist and milliner Anthony Gaskins.  Mr. Gaskins is the creator of Hugs and Hats, an idea he developed after losing his parents, sister, and mentor to cancer.  Through Hugs and Hats, he counsels cancer patients and runs hat-making workshops. “Words can’t describe how it feels to give someone fighting cancer a hat,” he explained. “To put them in something that totally transforms their mindset and how they feel about the sickness that they have and that they are fighting.” Mr. Gaskins sees his life’s mission as helping those fighting cancer.  His hats showcase one way cancer patients can recapture confidence after experiencing the hair loss that often accompanies chemotherapy.

About the Artist
Anthony Gaskins is a milliner by trade. He designs, creates, buys, and sells hats. For decades he has run his own business, serving a broad and diverse clientele. He teaches – formally and informally – about the history and culture surrounding hats.