The Virtual Artist Café is a series of four artist talks featuring conversations between favorite Baltimore-based and national artists. The Virtual Artist Café is part of Art in August, a month-long celebration of arts experiences featuring Artist Pop-Up Exhibitions, the “B2020” Virtual Exhibition, the Virtual Artist Café, Saturday Night Virtual DJs, and the Artscape Online Artists’ Market.

The artists participating in the Virtual Artist Café are Akea Brionne Brown, Angela N. Carroll, Bishme Cromartie, Monica Ikegwu, Larry Ossei-Mensah, and Stephen Towns. Additional participants from the Artscape Artists’ Market will be announced soon. The Virtual Artist Café streaming links will be available here.

From cocktails to canvases, curation to couture, everything is open for discussion in the Virtual Artist Café. View the schedule and read about the artists below.

Virtual Artist Café: Schedule & Artist Bios

All artist talks will stream live from 7-8PM.

On Thursday, August 18, join Baltimore-based artists Monica Ikegwu and Akea Brionne Brown for a conversation focused on the work of Black women in the arts, moderated by Angela N. Carroll.

Akea Brionne Brown, photo by Ryan Orengo

Akea Brionne Brown, the 2019 Sondheim Artscape Prize winner, is a photographer and consultant whose personal work investigates the implications of historical racial and social structures in relation to the development of contemporary black life and identity within America. She is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and is currently based in Baltimore, Maryland.

Monica Ikegwu, photo by Justin Tsucalas

Monica Ikegwu, a figure painter born and raised in Baltimore, structures her work upon the portraiture and depiction of African Americans. Her work has been featured on the Ava DuVernay series Cherish the Day on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and was recently displayed and exhibited at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum as well as at Ida B’s Table in a joint show early in 2018. She now attends and studies at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

Angela N. Carroll

Angela N. Carroll is an artist-archivist; a purveyor and an investigator of art history and culture. She is a contributing writer for Hyperallergic, Sugarcane Magazine, Black Art in America, Arts.Black, BmoreArt and others. She received her MFA in Digital Arts and New Media from the University of California at Santa Cruz and currently teaches within the Film and Moving Image program at Stevenson University in Baltimore Maryland.  

On Thursday, August 20, the Virtual Artist Café will feature Emerging Artists participating in the Artscape Online Artists’ Market. More information on the participants of this talk will be available soon.

On Tuesday, August 25, acclaimed Baltimore-based artist Stephen Towns will be in conversation with International Curator and ARTNOIR Co-Founder, Larry Ossei-Mensah.

Stephen Towns, photo by Mike Morgan

Stephen Towns (Baltimore, MD)is a painter and fiber artist whose work explores how American history influences contemporary society. Towns received a Bachelor of Fine Art in painting from the University of South Carolina. His work has been exhibited in a number of venues including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Art+ Practice, York College of PA and is in the private collection of The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Art + Practice, and the City of Charleston, South Carolina, and private collections nationally and abroad. His work has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, American Craft Council Magazine, and The Baltimore Sun.

Larry Ossei-Mensah, photo by Andrew Boyle

Larry Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. The Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe from New York City to Rome. Ossei-Mensah is also the co-founder of ARTNOIR a global collective of culturalists who design multimodal experiences aimed to engage this generation’s dynamic and diverse creative class.

On Thursday, August 27, join In the Atelier with Bishme Cromartie, American fashion designer from Baltimore and finalist on Project Runway Season 17. The conversation, featuring special guests, will focus on fashion, design, celebrity, glamour, and the art of creating clothing.

Bishme Cromartie, born and raised in Baltimore, has been designing clothes since he was eight years old. Since the creation of his clothing line, his bold yet streamlined garments have earned him international acclaim. He was a highly regarded contestant on Project Runway Season 17. His goal is to continue opening doors for all people of color and for his designs to inspire those who may not see themselves in the fashion industry. Cromartie has been published in Elle, Essence, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, Vogue, The Washington Times, and WWD, as well as shown on Bravo and BET.

In addition to the Virtual Artist Café, Art in August also features Artist Pop-Up Exhibitions (each Sunday in August on the North Charles Street parking lot at 1706 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD, 21201, from 1 PM to 3 PM), the “B2020” Virtual Exhibition (now available here), and Saturday Night Virtual DJs (more info coming soon). These programs lead up to and occur during the Artscape Online Artists’ Market, which is open for business virtually from Friday, August 21 to Sunday, August 30, 2020. More information on these programs is available here.

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