Monday, May 23, 2011

Sisters and Friends with a Passion for Art

What do you do when you are a professional, culturally inspired African-American woman in a community nearly void of cultural activities relevant to your ethnic experience? You simply call your sister friends.  This was the case in 1994 when 4 such women founded SisterFriends to introduce Bloomington-Normal, Illinois to culture relevant to the African Diaspora.  These 4 forward thinking women began hosting artist shows in their homes as a way to educate their community about artists of the African Diaspora and the impact of their art on the world.   

By 1999, SisterFriends evolved into a non-profit organization known as Sisters and Friends.  Their living room art shows transformed into an annual event  - The Afrocentric Fine Art Show - held at venues containing thousands of square feet to exhibit art works created by regional, national, and international artists. Sisters and Friends have partnered with numerous civic-minded and corporate entities to fulfill their mission which includes increasing awareness of African-American & African Diaspora art, enhance artist’s contributions to the community, advocate for youth expose to art, preserve the legacy of artists, and provide scholarships for African-American art students.

Bloomington-Normal, Illinois is home to the corporate headquarters of State Farm.  It is no surprise that this highly respected organization is a major supporter of Sisters and Friends’ Afrocentric Fine Art Show.  The weekend of May 21st and 22nd, 2011, marked the sixteenth year for the show.  It was formerly billed as Art Couture.  Art Couture featured such artists as Patricia Coleman-Cobb, Danny Broadway, Paul Branton, Joyce Lomax, and Dana Todd Pope. Gallery Guichard, a prominent Chicago gallery, also presented works from several of its highly talented artists. In the spirit of their mission, Sisters & Friends hosted each artist with the royal treatment, which included an invitation only dinner on the first night of the show.

Even though their numbers are small, their influence is far reaching.  Visitors to the sixteenth annual show came from locations throughout the Midwest, including St. Louis and Chicago.  These fearless, passionate, and devoted women are cultural leaders in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. By filling a void, they have transcended racial and ethnic barriers to unite a community around the beauty of art.  On behalf of artists everywhere, I salute your efforts.

Sisters and Friends Officers                                                      
Glenda Masingale Manson, President
Johnene Adams, Fund Development
Wilma Bates, Marketing Director/Scholarships
Carol Milling Cruz, Creative Director/Webmaster
Angela Davenport, Artist Events
Beverly Reid, Secretary/Treasurer
Stephanie Woodard, Volunteers

1 comment:

  1. Just Hi and Welcome Ramona.... read your post with Fiber Artist of Hope.... Great Blog.... My blog is listed as Bquiltin Studio... Take care of yourself and keep creating