Stimulus: The Artist’s Role in the Community

Thursday, September 26, 2019
6:30–8:00 p.m.
Free admission | REGISTER

What is the artist’s role in the community?

This panel discussion and community conversation will explore the different roles artists play in their respective communities. We will look at the parallels between the avenues for social commentary by artists today and those used by artists to document the world during the Great Migration in the United States. Participants include current McColl Center artists-in-residence Brittney Leeanne Williams and Sherrill Roland; muralist and figurative sculptor Dare Coulter; and mixed-media artist J. Stacy Utley. The conversation is moderated by Black On Black Project founder and curator Mike Williams.

The Stimulus series of conversations offers you deeper insight into the work and ideas of contemporary artists. These sessions aim to make connections between McColl Center artists-in-residence and alumni artists and our constantly evolving local arts community.

Mike Williams fosters community engagement as a consultant and through the Black On Black Project, a nonprofit he founded that works with artists on exhibitions and events that unpack pressing community issues. Williams spent fifteen years in media at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina where, among several roles, he was the curator of ArtsNowNC and managing editor of the and Triangle Today publications.

Brittney Leeanne Williams is a Chicago-based artist, originally from Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami (Untitled Art Fair), and Venice, Italy (Venice Biennale), as well as in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. Williams attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2017) and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2008-09). She is a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant recipient. Williams was a 2017-2018 artist-in-residence at University of Chicago (CSRPC/Arts + Public Life) and has held residencies at Chicago Artists Coalition (HATCH Projects) and Hyde Park Art Center (The Center Program). Her set design for the short film Self-Deportation has been featured at film festivals nationwide and internationally, including Anthology Film Archives (NYC) and the Pineapple Underground Film Festival (Hong Kong).

Sherrill Roland was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and received both his BFA in Design and MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Roland is an interdisciplinary artist and the founder of The Jumpsuit Project, his socially-engaged art project that has been presented at Open Engagement Chicago, Oakland City Hall, and the Michigan School of Law. Recent exhibitions include CAM Houston, LACE: Los Angeles and Studio Museum of Harlem. He was recently awarded the Center for Documentary Studies 2018-19 Post-MFA Fellowship in the Documentary Arts at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and the Rights of Return USA Fellowship.

Dare Coulter is an award-winning artist, muralist, and figurative sculptor. She took on the objective of creating positive imagery of people of color after being invited to participate in the Black on Black Project, and has since illustrated four children’s books under that same mission. Dare most recently completed the biggest mural in Fayetteville, North Carolina at 143 feet long, called #CaptainOfYourFAYte, and a 200-foot mural of Black Cowboys in Greensboro, #BlackCowboysGSO. Though her current murals are only in Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Puerto Rico, she is pursuing a goal to paint a mural on every continent in the next two years, along with the hope to create a series of monumental sculptures themed around black joy, as sculpture is her primary passion.

Born on Lakenheath Airforce Base in Suffolk, England, and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, J Stacy Utley is a practicing artist who resides in Charlotte. Utley’s work addresses complex narratives found within the African American diaspora. Using diverse mediums, his collages, assemblages, paintings, and drawings address the topics of displacement, cultural appropriation, religion, race, mental illness, and sexuality. Stacy Utley is a graduate of North Carolina State University, College of Design where he received a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He went on to receive a Masters of Fine Art from Lesley University College of Art and Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is an educator, having experience teaching on both the collegiate and grade school levels. Utley has shown nationally, exhibiting in solo exhibits and numerous group exhibitions. His executed works can be found in private, public, and university collections including North Carolina State University and Johnson C. Smith University. Utley is a public artist and have received commissions from the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte and the Durham Public Arts Commission.