The Center for Visual and Performing Arts- known as the Annex to students at Suitland High School in District Heights, MD- came into being as a magnet art curriculum following court-ordered desegregation reforms in Prince George's County, Maryland. Since then, the program has withered endless budget cuts and threats to its capability and even existence inside a crumbling school building.
But this hasn't stopped anyone at Suitland. With only $1,000 allotted annually for the program's 65 students (total-not individually), teachers dip into their own pockets to find adequete supplies, and the results have been incredible. Students dealing with issues such as drug abuse and eviction at home are at receiving scholarships to highly prestigious art schools. The Class of 2005 specifically was one to remember: Sam Vernon, one of Complex's "15 Young Black Artists Making Waves in the Art World," is currently featured in three Brooklyn shows; and Eric Mack, one of Forbes' "30 Under 30 Promising Talents in Visual Art and Design," has an upcoming show in Paris. This seemed incredible to me, and obviously many others. Only one thing is greater than the incredible adversity many students at Suitland face: their dedication to and the quality of their art.
Still working out how to attach the rider to the bike and make all his limbs remain in a somewhat more natural position. Also missing a syringe. Hope to finish this for good this week but recently storing the tape figure in a dressing room led to drama club damaging it a good bit, so that's another thing I have to take care of before this can finally get on display.
This past weekend was "Arts in the Park" at Dogwood Dell, following the RVA Street Art Festival last week at the Southern States silos in Manchester. My dad had gone over, as our family knows several of the artists who come every year either personally or from having bought their art before, and came back raving about this guy Ed Reims. He described the paintings as distinctly impressionist, with a lot of emotion put into them in the middle of a festival where a lot of artists are trying to just do something trendy. I decided to stop by on my ride the next day and got a chance to look at Reims' paintings. I was also very impressed. We didn't buy any paintings this weekend but I think my dad is in communication with Reims about maybe getting one in the future. Here are some paintings from his website and facebook page.
The “Roaring 20s,” America’s “Jazz Age,” was a “Golden” period in US history, when everything seemed to be shining of a golden hue and the country was reaping the benefits of industrial capitalism. It is pieces like Thomas Benton’s “America Today” that remind us that despite the lack of color film, this decade was full of color—and as it seemed to many, more so than any other time before.
This prosperity and indulgence was not universal, however; it was built on the backs of those working in factories and on railroads. The mechanization of industry did not reduce the need for manpower because it increased production levels to previously unimaginable yields. As The New York Times notes, Benton’s mural conveys the hard work and struggles of groups all over the country, from Western farmers and factory workers in Northeast cities. The seemingly random yet precise and organized divisions within and between the panels highlight contrasts between these different individuals while also allowing the viewer to see each component as one piece in a whole system—in this case, the mural, but metaphorically, a factory and then, by extension, the American economy. The piece accurately and carefully visualizes the new assembly line system, with many different workers all doing small tasks at once to create a finished product. Benton’s work definitely displays these multiple moments in time.
In his connection post to the Armory Show article, Davis also talks about how a painting by Marchel Duchamp—Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912)—also visualized multiple moments in time in a two-dimensional work. Duchamp painted a figure as if it was painted many times, at different angles and places along the staircase. While it was from a slightly earlier time, Duchamp’s painting was part of the lead-up to the Roaring 20s and all of their golden glory. Davis noted that the critic Julian Street called the golden painting “an explosion in a shingle factory,” once again touching on the industrial nature of the early-20th century.