Congratulations to the 2014 Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Grantees! It looks like 2014 will be a great year for arts and culture in Philadelphia. Read about the artists and their projects here. PEW Fellowships – $60,000 each Laynie Browne, Poet Thomas Devaney, Poet Michael Djupstrom, Pianist and composer Fatu Gayflor, Vocalist and folk artist Leroy Johnson, Visual artist Mary Lattimore, Harpist and performer Travis Macdonald, Poet Ted Passon, Filmmaker Susan Rethorst, Choreographer Matt Saunders, Theater artist and scenic designer J.C. Todd, Poet Brent Wahl, Visual artist Project Grants Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, $240,000 Arcadia University, $94,200 Asian Arts Initiative, $60,000 Bryn ... More » »
The new Juvenile Justice Services Center in West Philadelphia was dedicated last month and I got a tour recently of the building from Dave Kyu of the Office of Arts Culture and the Creative Economy. While the finishing touches were still being put on the facility (no residents or staffers had arrived at that point), the Percent for Art projects by Sarah McEneaney and Leroy Johnson are installed and look fine. McEneaney’s painting, Philadelphia City of Parks, 2012, is a birds’ eye view of Philadelphia’s vast array of parklands. The artist visited ten parks, all with her sidekick Trixie, and ... More » »
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of installing the works of Leroy Johnson in the galleries of Isaiah Zagar’s sprawling South Street creation, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (I have worked here as a guide and preparator). You wouldn’t think that in this particular setting—where mosaicked materials creep over each and every surface, from bathroom cabinets, across ceilings and floors, and out into a labyrinthine garden—that a lineup of works on paper and small sculptures would be able to get a word in edgewise. But the pieces by native Philadelphian Leroy Johnson that line the walls of his one-man show ... More » »
How do you make ordinary art into Black art? Surface Politics, [Salon Joose, October 8-November 20, 2010] asks that question by juxtaposing a series of works in the context of a black-owned gallery. Organizer Theodore Harris, who is well-known for his overt statements about war, religion, and politics, has invited artists of varied ages and media to participate. Harris collaborated with aesthetic philosopher Sharon Chestnut on this show; Chestnut and Harris will lead a dialogue on November 5th, 6-9 pm at the gallery, under the aegis of the Institute for Advanced Study in Black Aesthetics.
Artists Leroy Johnson and Sarah McEneaney have been selected for the most recent Philadelphia Percent for Art competition — this just announced by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. The two artists — both longtime Philly folk with many accolades and awards — will create new paintings for the new Youth Study Center at 48th and Haverford (not yet built–previously the YSC was on the Parkway where the new Barnes will be). The art will be about Philadelphia and include Philadelphia scenes in it. The work is expected to be installed fall, 2011. Here’s what ... More » »
Men with Hats, 60th Street Series LeRoy Johnson: Call and ResponseLittle Berlin Closes May 21 I’ve taught in the same program as LeRoy Johnson, the Claymobile, for about three years now and though I’ve meet him once or twice the only things I really “know” about him are little bits of information I’ve picked up from his teaching assistants. He’s an older African American man (This press release for an exhibition of his at Swarthmore College describes his “50-year journey as an artist”, so I’ll put him down as 50+), who started creating art as a potter. I mention the ... More » »