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Black Student Union Members Exhibit Work in Annapolis

Public Reception for Senator Verna L. Jones Annual BSU Exhibition Takes Place Tuesday, Feb. 24

Posted 02.10.09 by Media Relations

Dellonese Isaac ’11, Bon Voyage, oil on gessoed paper

BALTIMORE-The Senator Verna L. Jones Annual BSU Exhibition, inaugurated by State Senator Verna L. Jones (Baltimore City), showcases the work of members of MICA's Black Student Union (BSU). Maryland legislators and residents view and purchase work made by emerging artists of color at an exhibition in Senator Jones' office in Annapolis that lasts for the duration of the 2009 legislative session (through Monday, April 13). In celebration of Black History Month, Senator Jones will host a public reception with the artists Tuesday, Feb. 24, 6-7:30 p.m. at her office in Room 420 of the Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis.

"I am proud to have an opportunity each year to share the engaging, provocative work of young artists with my constituents and colleagues," Senator Jones said. "This exhibition is a celebration of talented artists of color and a great example of MICA's ongoing commitment to create an environment that is open and inclusive."

Co-coordinated by MICA's Office of Advancement and Office of Diversity and Intercultural Development, the show evolved from a request by Senator Jones to MICA President Fred Lazarus for African-American student artwork to display. Now in its seventh year, more than 45 students have participated in the exhibition-some for all four years of their undergraduate careers. Last year, Stephen Edmond '11 sold a series of New Orleans photographs taken after Hurricane Katrina. Edmond returns for the 2009 show, which features artists from across Maryland (Baltimore, Millington, Cheverly, Aberdeen, Clinton, and Suitland) as well as Louisiana (Edmond's home state), Mississippi, and New York.

"Each year students' anticipation and enthusiasm for the exhibition grows," said Clyde Johnson, assistant dean of diversity and intercultural development. "Senator Jones has been a true patron of the arts and supporter of MICA. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the senator to introduce the work of emerging artists of color to such an important audience."

Senator Jones represents the 44th Legislative District of Baltimore City. She is a member of the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee and is chairman emeritus of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. She also served as chair of Maryland Women for Obama.

The mission of the Black Student Union, overseen by the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Development, is to improve the quality of campus life for students of color and provide the best environment to foster the creation of artwork. All MICA students are invited to join the BSU and enter their artwork for consideration to exhibit and sell in the annual show.

"Thanks to this annual exhibition, I've been able to meet lawmakers interested in and supportive of the arts," said Dellonese Isaac '11 (Baltimore), who is pursuing a general fine arts major and a culture and politics minor at MICA. "Senator Jones and MICA have provided a unique opportunity for me to learn more about the political process, which is exciting because I'm an artist who's interested in how legislators influence art and culture through policy."

About the 2009 artists

In 2008, general fine arts major Justin Beasley '11 (Baltimore) was named a youngARTS finalist in the visual arts by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA). He has been a member of the Black Student Union since 2007 and was a participant in last year's exhibition. Photography major Jamila Cook's '10 (Millington, Md.) passion for art is displayed through the medium of photography as both a method of autobiography and as an outlet through which one can observe and document environments, events, and light. Cook's work is inspired by studies at Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica.

Craftsmanship, creativity, and passion influence every concept, choice, and application in Stephen Edmond's '11 (New Orleans) art. Work for his graphic design degree at MICA has led Edmond to concentrate on quality, innovation, and artistic discovery. Mika Eubanks '11 (Cheverly, Md.) is currently studying fiber with a concentration in experimental fashion and a minor in culture and politics at MICA. Eubanks' work focuses on family, culture, and social issues in the community.

Robert Ferrell '09 (Manassas, Va.) wants to inspire change in society through straight-forward and thought-provoking art. After graduation, Ferrell hopes to use his graphic design degree to work in the Baltimore and Washington area. Deunte Ford '11 (Mendenhall, Miss.) was the first African-American valedictorian from Mississippi School of the Arts. Ford (environmental design), one of the first two recipients of the Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Scholarship, was presented with the 2009 MICA Unity Award for her work with BSU, Community Arts Partnership (CAP), and the Office of Diversity & Intercultural Development.

Antoinette Hawkins '11 (Baltimore) is working toward a BFA in painting and a MA in teaching. At MICA, Hawkins continues to focus on the visual arts and have her art acknowledged. While studying for her master's of art in community arts degree, Rikiesha Hawkins '09 (Aberdeen, Md.) is exploring innovative approaches to exposing MICA students, faculty, and staff to black culture. Hawkins aims to teach people how different forms of art can give them an outlet through which they can express the beauty of selfreflection.

Antoine Heath '11 (Clinton, Md.), an environmental design major, depicts forms and light sources in his work. Dellonese Isaac '11 (Baltimore), who is pursuing a general fine arts major and a culture and politics minor, enjoys using a variety of textures to give her work physical depth.

Katrina Kelly '11 (Baldwin, N.Y.), a graphic design major, aims to help provoke change and a sense of consciousness to the public on socioeconomic and environmental issues. The majority of Nikia Kigler's '10 (Suffolk, Va.) work focuses on personal experiences and relationships with people. After graduation, Kigler (general fine arts) plans to launch a photography company, open a gallery, and continue to exhibit her work.

Fiber major Brittany Marrow '11 (Suitland, Md.) incorporates fiber and textile design with painting and sculpture to create abstract expressionist works around the idea of inner beauty in women and sexuality. Janelle Sanders '09 (general fine arts, Brooklyn, N.Y.) focuses on the African-American experience and aims to confront racial stereotyping, specifically the depiction of African-American males as criminals in the media, through her art.

To learn more about the individual artists or to schedule interviews with them, please call Mikhael Mei Williams (director of media relations) or Kathleen Murray (publicist) at 410-225-2300.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.