Call and Response: Art Between Artists

Featuring the Work of Sallah Jenkins and Alma Roberts

Baltimore, MD, April 16, 2017 – The upcoming fine art exhibition Call and Response: Art between Artists will take place at the Eubie Blake National Jazz and Cultural Center 847 N. Howard Street Baltimore, Maryland 21201.  The exhibition will run between May 7th and June 24th, 2017.  This exhibition is not to be missed!

Call and Response is an exhibition of fine artworks by ceramic artist Sallah Jenkins and painter Alma Roberts. Through a collaborative process, these artists bring refreshing interpretations to the “call and response” idiom of musical liturgy. The interplay of their artwork creates a contemporary discourse deeply rooted in the African American experience. The art included in the exhibition results from “Conversations” between the artists.  As one artist gives the call the other responds through their art and vice versa; thus, operating in the true “call and response” tradition.

Exhibition curator and MICA 2017 MFA candidate, Yvonne Hardy-Phillips is excited to create the physical manifestation of this metaphorical juxtaposition of how these artists speak to each across mediums, time and space.  Sallah Jenkins and Alma Roberts, both Baltimore natives, have had highly productive creative arts careers in the mid-Atlantic region. 

Jenkins has taught ceramic art for over 20 years at the venerable Baltimore Clayworks.  Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions. In 2014 and 2015 Jenkins participated in residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson Vermont.   The Vermont Studio Center founded in 1984 is the largest international artist residency program in the U.S. 

An artist profile on Jenkins was written by Sarah McCann, Director of the Baltimore Clayworks for inclusion in the Studio Potter Journal Women in Ceramics Vol. 45 No 1. Winter/Spring 2017.  In her profile McCann wrote that Jenkins’ classes “are joyful environments, where she supports her students in finding creative fulfillment.”  Jenkins credits her creative process as the “transmittal of positive energy extracted from the soul.  [My] art is produced as a means of giving thanks to the Ancestors using ceramics and mixed media”.

Alma Roberts comes to her art making by way of literature; she is a performance poet and playwright.  Roberts founded and published New Breezes, a Cultural Arts Forum magazine from 1982 – 1994.   To say that Roberts literally “picked up a paint brush and started to paint” is just a state of fact.  Her abstract expressionistic style appears fully formed on canvas after canvas.  Her visual vocabulary of drips, circular mark making and energetic compositions belie the fact that her prodigious output is of an artist new to the medium. 

New to the medium but not unfamiliar with the desires to be a painter.  Roberts tells the story of her father William L. Roberts, Jr., a young West Baltimore painter that gave up his artistic aspirations to pursue a stable career that allowed him to support his family.  Roberts cherishes the memory of her father and his love for his family.  She feels his spirit every time she picks up her paint brush. As a public health professional with Kaiser Permanente, her effective health initiatives in neighborhoods across Baltimore City are also a part of her spiritual journey. These two artists truly operate “in the spirit realm.”

The exhibition will feature an array of recent paintings, sculpture, and ceramic masks.  The interplay of their artworks create a contemporary discourse deeply rooted in the African American experience and their personal passion for social justice.

All are invited Sunday, May 7, 2017 to the Eubie Blake National Jazz and Cultural Center 847 N. Howard Street Baltimore, Maryland 21201 2:00pm – 5:00pm for the opening reception of Call and Response: Art Between Artists.   Jenkins and Roberts have invited the spirit filled “Wombworks” performing arts company to open the exhibition with homage to the Ancestors, the Goddesses, and the forces of the Orishas.  Attendees are invited to assemble in the garden for libations at 2:30 pm.

[Note: All graphic elements included in the presentation of the works on display are by Gregory Gray of Little Gray House, NYC.]

For more information contact Yvonne Hardy-Phillips, (443-955-2461) or Alma Roberts, (419-916-3266).   

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