NYC Part I – Faith
It was a whirlwind trip to the Big Apple during the three most beautiful days of the year. Would you believe mid-70s and clear? We have so much to tell you about, but we’ll start with the reason we went – Faith Ringgold received the City College of New York’s First Cultural Arts Award, and Myrah Brown Green curated a show of art quilts to coincide with the honor. The Thursday night reception was wonderful – plentiful and tasty hors d’oeuvre, friendly people, and an awards presentation with cool music by Rafik & Friends (I mean they played Miles Davis – what more could you ask?).
It was very interesting to actually stand next to our quilt and discuss it with the attendees. One woman told us she really felt the struggle of the three black women and their confidence in moving forward, as depicted by the bridge. I told her the three women were Faith, Deb, and I, crossing the bridge together toward our vision. She had actually hit the nail on the head; we did want to show how women are always in a precarious position, but that we have confidence in ourselves. Having met Faith Ringgold, we learned that you really do have to be confident in your work and be willing to put yourself out there in the art world to succeed. She told us to go to all the arts events in our communities, and put our names out there. When opportunities arise, Faith said, at least they’ll know your name!
Lest you think we stole the show, here are two other quilts with their makers, Sherry Boram and Valerie C. White. These were compelling and powerful quilts. Maybe because the theme – to honor Faith Ringgold – was in itself inspirational that there were so many interesting quilts.
Faith Ringgold really is a great storyteller. I turned to Deb and said she reminded me of my dad, who could hold people’s attention while he regaled them with his life stories. I told Faith the same thing when we sat down to chat. She got a laugh when I told her I bet it was the first time she had ever been compared to a 92-year-old Japanese man. I must say, as much as we loved meeting Faith and being in her presence, we met so many incredible artists and friends of the arts that we kept pinching ourselves. Take Otto Neals, for example. He designed the bronze plaque of Faith that will permanently hang in Aaron Davis Hall. What a talent! We loved our time in Harlem. No wonder Bill Clinton wanted to put his office there. Good food and lots of great art. We can’t wait to go back.