Exhibit: Healing Bridges Across the Divide
A visual-literary art exhibit focused on healing bridges between communities in Baltimore through art.
A diverse group of six visual artists and six poets were commissioned to create art representative of the intersection of their identities and the great city of Baltimore. The exhibit is a dialogue between the artists and the poets. Participants should expect an evocative experience that echoes with the history of black and Jewish connection, collaboration and shared identities and experiences.
Gallery Open: October 30 – December 11 | Mondays | 4:00-8:00pm
– Group Tours are available by calling 410.559.3510
– Gallery will also be open to all visitors attending events at the Gordon Theater
This program is a collaboration among Schusterman Fellows, and is partially funded by Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds.
Mr. Asaka is a visual artist and Civil Rights Attorney. He has had three solo art exhibitions and has created paintings for FMC Corporation and other collections. Most recently, Artspace in Richmond, VA, selected Mr. Asaka to participate in the JAZZ: February/March Juried Exhibition. He graduated cum laude from Howard University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Art in political science and in 1996 from Rutgers Law School. In addition, Mr. Asaka serves on the boards of NECO and WombWork Productions.
Dominique Butler is a painter who primarily works in gouache and acrylic. Her recent work revolves around viewing nature through the eyes of a person of color. Her paintings are captured images of the environment that are often overlooked. These pieces touch upon the distinct disconnection between black bodies and the great outdoors, prompting the viewer to question why nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism are white-dominated. Dominique has exhibited her work in several group shows in Maryland, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, NY. She grew up in a small farm town in northern Vermont and currently resides in Baltimore, MD. She received her Bachelor of Art in Drawing, Painting, and Art History from Drew University in 2017. She then attended the Maryland Institute College of Art to gain a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Fine Arts. Dominique is currently pursuing an MSW at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Originally from Washington, D.C., Dr. Schroeder Cherry is now an award-winning, Maryland-based artist who captures everyday scenes of African diaspora life. He earned a bachelor’s degree in painting and puppetry from The University of Michigan; a master’s degree in museum education from George Washington University; and a doctorate in museum education from Columbia University. His works are in private and public collections across the U.S. In 2020 He was awarded the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City Artist Travel Prize for research in Bahia, Brazil. In 2021 he received an Individual Artist Award from Maryland State Arts Council.
JUSTIN ORLANDO FAIR
Justin Orlando Fair is a Baltimore native, artist and urban planner, who chronicles his artwork and community projects at soulstrong.com. From 2011-2018, Mr. Fair exhibited and worked in arts management in the Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District. A man of many hats, he now works by day with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; and in 2020, earned his Masters in City and Regional Planning at Morgan State University. This past year, he was invited to serve on the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s art jury for the exhibition, “A Fence Around the Torah,” and rep the Jews of Color Mishpacha Project. Additionally, Mr. Fair serves on the boards of Unmatched Athlete, MissionFit, the Jewish Museum of Maryland and JPride Baltimore. He hopes this community service and his creative endeavors continue to plant seeds and together, let us bring Tikkun Olam!
VALERIE A. SMITH
Born in Baltimore, Valerie A. Smith is a surrealist illustrator and painter. As a child, she loved to read about mystical characters and mythological beings from fairy tales, folklore, and legends. The source of her work comes from her dreams and her great imagination. Her vivid and colorful paintings tell stories that are meant to leave impressions on the viewer. She earned her degree from the Professional Institute of Commercial Arts (PICA) and studied architectural design and fine arts at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and fine arts at the Towson University’s College of Fine Arts and Communications. She also studied basic electronics and learned a great deal about drawing and reading schematics. Her work has a unique blend of architectural design and fine and commercial arts that inspire her distinctive surrealistic style. She was an active member of the Hamilton Arts Collective, Artists U, Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, Max Gallery, the Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Culture, and the Towson Artist Collective. Over the years, Ms. Smith has visited and exhibited her art in many galleries in Maryland.
Born and raised outside of Washington DC, Jude is a graduate of Walt Whitman High School. She attended Hofstra University, University of South Carolina and Maryland Institute College of Art as a painting major. Jude is a self-taught fiber artist, and a founding member of The Hamilton Gallery and an active member of The Baltimore Creative Alliance. She was also a former juror, participant and installation aide for Nature Art in the Park, Baltimore.
MICHAEL S. GLASER
Michael S. Glaser served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 2004 – 2009. He is a Professor Emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland where he co-founded and directed the annual Literary Festival, as well as the VOICES literary reading series for over 25 years. For many years he served as a Maryland State Arts Council Poet-in-the-Schools and also as a member of the Maryland State Department of Education’s Arts Advisory Committee. He is a recipient of the Homer Dodge Endowed Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Columbia Merit Award for service to poetry, and Loyola College’s Andrew White Medal for his dedication to the intellectual and scholarly life in Maryland, and for his commitment to sustaining the poetic tradition in the State of Maryland. Glaser has edited three anthologies, including Come Celebrate with Me, a memorial tribute to Lucille Clifton (2011), and has published eight collections of his own work, most recently “Disrupting Consensus” which won the 2008 Teacher’s Voice chapbook competition, and The Threat of Rain (2014). He served as co-editor of the Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton (BOA, 2012), writes poetry reviews for The Friends Journal and co-leads retreats which embrace the reading and writing of poetry as a means of self-reflection and personal growth.
Jadi Z. Omowale is a poet and fiction writer. Her work has been published in literary journals, Essence magazine, and in several anthologies. Her most recent publication is The Goddess in the Girl, a poetry collection (2017). She has a Masters in Writing and Publication Design from the University of Baltimore and is a Cave Canem fellow, a national organization of African American poets. She has read her work locally and nationally, most recently as a featured poet at Women Writers in Bloom Salon in New York in 2022.
JAY LE RAY
(He/they) is a proud alum and current assistant coach in training of Baltimore City’s youth poetry team and a 2-time Baltimore Youth Poet Ambassador. Jay has encountered many excellent opportunities since joining the poetry team and has improved his abilities as a writer and a performer exponentially since becoming a DewMore poet. Jay has found a family that respects and supports not only his work but who he is as an artist and a poet. “I have had wonderful experiences with this team and everyone I’ve met through it.” Says Jay.
Slangston Hughes is an International and National Slam Champion based out of Baltimore, MD. He is the Artistic Director of DewMore Baltimore and former coach of the two-time world champion Baltimore City Youth Poetry Team. He is the founder as well as team member of the 7x champion Slammageddon Baltimore adult slam team, the winningest team in poetry slam history.
Benjamin Shalva is a poet, musician, and hospice chaplain. He specializes in spiritual counseling, mindfulness instruction, and song leading, and serves as chaplain for Gilchrist, a nonprofit provider of serious illness and end-of-life care. Benjamin’s poetry and prose have appeared in publications such as The Washington Post, Image, Peauxdunque Review, Ponder Review, and Spirituality & Health Magazine. He is also the author of two books of nonfiction, Spiritual Cross-Training and Ambition Addiction, both published by Grand Harbor Press. Benjamin lives in Pikesville, Maryland, with his wife, Sara, their two children, and their two hound dogs.
A’niya Taylor, age 20, is the 2-time Youth Poet Laureate of Baltimore and a 2021 graduate of Baltimore City College High School. She is the 2021-2023 captain of the Baltimore City Youth Poetry Team. She won 1st place in the 2021 Brave New Voices individual poetry slam and was nominated for Marylander of the Year in 2020 for her work and activism while serving as a Youth Poet Ambassador in 2020 and 2021. She says poetry “has opened me up to so many different ways to express myself.”
Curators & Producers
(Co-Curator) Rain Pryor is an entertainer, director, writer, playwright, speaker, activist, Osun priestess, wife and mother. Pryor wants to assist you in finding and living out your desires, and, breaking down racial biases. Rain, has lead panel discussions on diversity in education and in the entertainment industry to groups around the world, and has also received honors for her commitment to arts education by the Business Women of Baltimore and the Baltimore Department of Education. She is currently a Schusterman Fellow, developing her leadership skills and participating in panel discussions on race and intersectionality. She’s also on the board of the Columbia Arts Festival and Jewish Women’s International.
(Co-Curator) Lenett Partlow-Myrick aka Mama Nef is a Baltimore native and an African-descendant visual artist, poet-writer, educator, spirARTtual activist, grandmother, and principal artist for Partlow Art. She makes artifacts of her 60+ years of lived experiences on occupied Indigenous land aka the United States. Her visual art has been featured at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, on the covers of Passager literary journal, in her 33Bookz solo show, in the Dos-à-Dos 2-woman book art exhibit with Jenny O’Grady, and in group shows at Hamilton Gallery. Her writings appear in several anthologies, including A Community of . . . VOICES, When Divas Laugh, Little Patuxent Review, Dancing Shadow Review, and Poetry Baltimore. In 2022, she wrote and produced her first video documentary, “Making Our Spaces Sacred.” She has appeared as a featured poet at the Baltimore Book Festival, Artscape, Theater Project, and the Miami Center for Performing Arts. She is the subject of the award-winning documentary Mbele Ache, the CSN-TV special “Voices of Our Past,” and was honored in 2022 for her activism by the AFRO American News. She loves being an artist, her family, ancestors, laughing hard, creative collaborations, oceans, spiritual rituals, magic, YouTube, pinochle, 60s + 70s music, and cooking for friends.
(Co-Producer) Kohenet Dr. Harriette E. Wimms is a Maryland licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in providing compassion-infused mental health care to people of color (POC), people who are neurodiverse, and LGBTQ+ children, adolescents, adults, and families. K’Harriette is a prayer leader in both the Kohenet community and at Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebl. Dr. Wimms is the inaugural Jews of Color Engagement Fellow at The Associated, Jewish Federation of Baltimore -the first type of position within any Jewish federation system. A current Schusterman Fellow, Dr. Wimms is a Selah cohort 17 fellow, a contract trainer for Keshet, and is the founder and executive director of the Jews of Color Mishpacha Project (JOCMishpacha.org).