Exhibitions - African American Heritage 2022

African-American Heritage Month is an annual recognition of the achievements and vast contributions of black Americans in the US throughout history. LCMA is proud to feature artists Tasanee Durrett, Sondra Elder and Dr. Parrish Monk to celebrate African American Heritage Month 2022.

The exhibit runs from February 4 - February 26, 2022. Join us for the opening reception on Friday, February 4th, 5pm - 7pm.

Tasanee Durrett

Growing up, my mother would always take me to the museums and art fairs in Chicago, where I was born and raised. The artwork and the artists that I was exposed to were phenomenal, but where were the artists that looked like me? Where was the artwork that had people of color?

As I grew older, I started dreaming of museums and art events filled with people of color from all cultures and backgrounds. I began stepping out of my comfort zone and drawing what has never been, and still isn't the norm: Black Culture and Black Stories. This journey has led me to understanding more of who I am as I learn more about stories of the brown and black community.

I'm a minimalist artist who explores the themes of Black Stories in the realms of identity, culture and placemaking/architecture. My artwork utilizes mediums of drawing and mixed media to display narratives of Black existence that are typically kept hidden from us. I use poetry, experiences, memory and historical literature.

I draw using one line - meaning, each piece is drawn with my hand never lifting from the medium that I work with until it is absolutely complete. I specialize in continuous contour drawing, also known as "single-line" drawing. I enjoy the complexity behind the minimal nature of the technique. It reminds me of the Black Diaspora and how blackness is seen as a simple beauty made up of complex histories, essences and backgrounds.

Sondra Elder

As a self-taught artist, Sondra was not able to truly devote time to her creative journey until after retiring from her life in the business world. Now that she has removed her corporate "hat", her surroundings constantly inspire her artistic expression. After making her first ceramic piece in 2014, Sondra was hooked. Her journey has taken her to study with Spanish, Australian, English, and American ceramic artists to develop her skills. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Rutgers University and a Master's degree from DePaul University.

With her pottery, her chosen medium is porcelain because its strength and delicacy learn to live in harmony. It is her perfect canvas to display the beautiful zinc-silicate crystals that can only be created through normally destructive fire. These naturally occurring phenomena inspire her never-ending desire to artistically harness their capability on the backdrop of her forms - which equally exude both capability and femininity.

She creates her forms on the potter's wheel with a vision to move the observer's eye from one end of the piece fluidly around the work without interruption. On this canvas, she applies glazes that she develops using rare earth elements and oxides to create dramatic backdrops for her crystal formations. To create these crystal formations, she fires her pieces to approximately 2350 Fahrenheit and then holds her kiln, for hours, at various temperatures. Each hold adjusts the size, shape, color, and depth of her crystals. She wants the observer to become lost in the crystal and for each person to discover something new every time they view her work.

Dr. Parrish Monk

Parrish G. Monk is a self-taught African American visual artist whose mantra has become "I'm still learning and still growing". Monk has been a full-time artist since January 1, 2014, the first full day after his college closed its doors and he lost his job as a college professor and Academic Dean. However, Monk began seriously exploring his artistry in Spring 2012, when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. This event, coupled with the loss of his full-time job, reshaped Monk's focus on his artistry. Despite the life challenges and temporary storms that Monk has faced, he has quietly sold over 517 original paintings across the globe. From street corners to arts and craft fairs, to coffee shops, to art galleries, Monk has stayed focused on creating unique art.

Monk has received numerous grants and awards and has had his work featured in a variety of publications and galleries. His work can be viewed at The Newport Art Gallery in Newport Kentucky, Caffe' Vivace in Cincinnati Ohio, and the upcoming Pandemonium Gallery in Latonia Kentucky. Monk's work has been sold to T.V. shows like HBO's Enlightened, Hawaii Five 0, and Stars, as well as to public spaces from New York to Miami, to Dallas, to L.A., and to London, England.

Regionally, Monk's style of artwork has been coined "Abfigminimalism" and he an "abfigminimalist" (see full explanation) and the founder of such movement as dubbed by gallery owners in the Cincinnati area. Monk does not create one thing in one style. He is a multi-media and mixed media artists who paints abstracts, figurative art, expressionist and minimalist pieces as well-- hence the term 'ab + fig + minimalism'. Monk is a sculptor, fiber artist, crafter, jewelry maker, potter, woodworker, wood carver, and a fervent upcycler that re-purposes reclaimed materials.

While Monk is a full-time artist, he is also an education consultant for Independence University and an adult educator teaching developmental math, Algebra, Finite Math and business management courses to non-traditional adult students as an adjunct instructor. Like his late blooming art career, Monk was also a non-traditional student, having acquired his first degree when he was 32 years old. Monk's educational background (i.e., BA in Psychology, MBA in Human Resources and a Doctorate in Education Leadership) have little to do with his artistry and more to do with his other passion and endeavors-- education and equitable access to needed resources for underserved populations.

Monk is an aspiring author of critical reading books, young adult novels and literacy curriculum. He is currently working on a degree in Graphic Arts, which will be helpful in producing his upcoming children's books and illustrated novels.

Monk has created and managed several galleries and artist cooperatives including: The Art House in Forth Thomas; Lux Art Gallery in Covington Kentucky (pop-up gallery); Inspirado @the Madison Gallery in Covington Kentucky; and the Maker's Mart in Covington Kentucky. These galleries have always been used as a catalyst to help empower other artists and artisans. Most of these venues fell under the umbrella of a non-profit art business incubator founded by Monk in August 2014 called The Independent Northern Kentucky Artists and Artisans Education Program (a.k.a INKAA Education Program), an organization that helps support and empower local artists and artisans by helping them to navigate the business side of the art world (2014-2020).

Monk's philosophy is evident in his day-to-day activities, most of which are spent either creating, handling art related business or helping empower other artists or the community. "Parrish, Doctor P, is the catalyst behind me and so many others getting into the art world and doing better than we would have done on our own. He is a phenomenal soul and a good man with a big heart and a crazy vision that most people easily buy into. He is definitely a leader, but more than that he is a bridge builder. He helps connect the dots for people like me and has helped me to get into galleries and shows that I couldn't have done on my own. Parrish is a cool person, a good person." – Zach Tolbert, Visual Artists

As a father of three sons (27, 26, 15) one of Monk's top priorities has been taking care of his youngest son, who is on the Autism Spectrum. Monk cites this as a primary reason to have control over his own time, destiny, and resources, which in turn encourages him to be an independent working artist and creative entrepreneur. Monk, when asked, says, "I didn't choose this path. It chose me. I am trying to make this life and path that I am living work. Art has the power to transform people's lives for the better. That is why I have a strong work ethic and approach my artistry as I would any career. That is why I hustle and grind every day to try to make a positive difference in this world. To bring some light into this world through my creativity. I am working hard to become a better person, father, artist and humanitarian and just make this life work out. I am working hard for a better tomorrow".

Extracted from an article written by Anne D. Westin-Meier, Artist on Art "Small Town Artist Creates Big City Idea" November 2018