Jerrell Gibbs ’20 (LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting MFA) chosen as award winner by American Academy of Arts and Letters

Jerrell Gibbs ’20 (LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting MFA) was announced as one of 18 artists who will receive a 2021 reward in art from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. 

The art prizes and purchases, totaling $500,000, honor both established and emerging artists, and winners were chosen from a group of 125 artists who had been invited to submit work. Gibbs received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Art, which is $10,000 to a young painter of distinction.

Gibbs retraces family memories, examining the origin of his own life by representing intimate and instantly joyous moments. Affirming the multilayered experience of the African-American diaspora, Gibbs plunges the viewer into an immersive experience, the realm of his childhood.

Growing up in Baltimore influenced his perspective on socio-economics, body politics, race, economic disparities and their influence on one another. Through his figurative portraits, Gibbs invigorates banal representations of black identity by depicting empathy, inviting the possibility for a spiritual connection. The works are adapted from small Polaroids into life-size paintings. 

“Winning the American Academy Award is a great feeling,” Gibbs said. “I would have to say more than anything, winning the award has given me motivation to continue working hard and perfecting my craft. I am so grateful, now it’s time to get back to work!”

He has exhibited at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, The Galleries at CCBC and The Gallery at Howard University. His work is in the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art. Gibbs is represented by Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.