Arts Every Day believes in the power of art to build community, provide an avenue for youth voices, and create opportunities to explore educational learning. We are proud to present our second annual 10×10 Exhibit where youth can freely express how their city, families, and neighborhoods shape who they are. Every year, students and teachers from Baltimore City Public Schools are invited to create 10 inch by 10 inch artworks that celebrate themes of identity, heritage, and culture. Over 250 artworks are displayed on the first floor galleries of the Motor House which features 16 Baltimore City Public Schools.
Each year, the 10×10 Exhibit is inspired by a culturally relevant artist that has ties to Maryland or Baltimore city. The 2018 featured artists are painter Jacob Lawrence and Maryland story quilter Joan Gaither. Both Lawrence and Gaither have unique perspectives in visualizing history and community traditions through their art forms. In the fall of 2017, teachers were able to bring their students to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum and see Lawrence’s work in person at the retrospective Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence. Prints, books, and paintings that spanned all of Lawrence’s career were displayed. Currently, scores of students and adults are viewing their spring exhibition Freedom: Emancipation Quilted & Stitched by Joan Gaither.
While creating work for the show, students and teachers were captivated by how Lawrence invited the viewer into African-American domestic scenes and how Gaither portrayed the legacies of people of color in Maryland. Jackie Copeland, the museum’s Director of Education and Visitor Services, makes note of Lawrence’s particular influence on youth:
Jacob Lawrence was one of the most important American artists of the 20th century. An African American who moved to Harlem as a young boy, Lawrence chronicled the African American experience in his works that span over 80 years…All students will understand his focus on “builders” by which he means how we built better communities and families, a universal theme, and one that resonates with urban America. -Jackie Copeland, Director of Education and Visitor Services
Many students grasped as the opportunity to share how they would build a better community in their neighborhoods and throughout the nation. Gary Mullen, guest curator of the 10×10 Exhibit, is all too familiar with how the arts inspire youth leadership. In addition to being a renown muralist and artist, he is a Art @ Work mentor where he leads a team of Baltimore city youth apprentices ages 16-21 to create murals around the city. When viewing the artwork for the 10×10 Exhibit, Mr. Mullen quickly saw how students responded to the historical paintings and quilts of Lawrence and Gaither.
In this exhibition there are several subject matters. For example, there are portraits, city life, family life, civil rights themes and a variety of different colors and textures. My job as a curator was to unify the different pieces so that the exhibit is cohesive. I even grouped different skill levels so that I could achieve that goal.
The 10×10 Exhibit is a continuous show that encourages the integration of core subject matters into the arts while allowing students to have agency to define themselves in creative ways. The 10×10 Exhibit is on view at the Motor House from January 8th-February 23rd, 2018 with an opening reception on January 24th, 2018 from 4 to 7pm.
This exhibition is sponsored by Point Breeze Credit Union. Thank you to our event and educational sponsors The Motor House and The Reginald F. Lewis Museum.
Bard Early College High School
City Neighbors Charter School
City Neighbors High School
Commodore John Rogers
Creative City Public Charter School
George W. F. McMechen High School
Gwynns Falls Elementary
Hamilton Elementary Middle School
Highlandtown Elementary / Middle School #215
Mary E Rodman
National Academy Foundation High School
Patterson High School
Roland Park Elementary Middle School
The REACH Partnership
Western High School