State of the Arts Is Taking It to the Streets
On Thursday, November 12, KERA’s Art&Seek and the Kimbell Art Museum present “Taking It to the Streets: The Mural Movement in Fort Worth,” a live online State of the Arts discussion that explores the unifying influence of public art and how artists have adapted to the COVID era.
Across Fort Worth and around the world, artists are responding to a year of massive upheaval with mural making. In a time of social distancing, murals have become medium and megaphone for critical conversations, community activism and public art. From downtown Fort Worth and the Near Southside to the Stockyards and beyond, murals with a message can be found on street corners and alleyways—and sometimes in unexpected places. Local artists and experts will discuss how murals intersect with power, protest and representation.
“Fort Worth’s vibrant arts scene has responded in remarkable ways to this turbulent year of pandemics, politics and protests,” said William Gibbons, associate dean of TCU’s College of Fine Arts. “Public art helps each of us process the fundamental challenges of our times, and it also has the power to bring us together as a community in a uniquely isolating moment.”
Letitia Huckaby, local photographer, artist and co-founder of Huckaby Studios; local artist Juan Velazquez of Velazquez Art; and Jan Ballard, instructor of graphic design at TCU’s College of Fine Arts, will join moderator Jerome Weeks, senior arts reporter and producer for Art&Seek, in this discussion.
“Since the program’s inception, State of the Arts has been an occasion to connect with our arts community,” said Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. “In this year of social distancing, that purpose seems more poignant than ever.”
Letitia Huckaby has a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography from the Art Institute of Boston and her master’s degree from the University of North Texas in Denton. Huckaby has exhibited as an emerging artist at Phillips New York, the Tyler Museum of Art, The Studio School of Harlem, the Camden Palace Hotel in Cork City, Ireland and the Texas Biennial at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum. Her work is included in several prestigious collections: the Library of Congress, the McNay Art Museum, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas and the Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection at Scripps College in Claremont, California. Huckaby was a featured artist in “MAP2020: The Further We Roll, The More We Gain” at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and “State of the Art 2020” at The Momentary and Crystal Bridges Museum; both opened in the spring of 2020. She is currently a Fall 2020 Artist-in-Residence at ArtPace.
Juan Velazquez is a Fort Worth artist once known for practicing only traditional, fundamental oil methods. He adapted to the COVID pandemic by evolving into a muralist who uses spray paint as his medium. Velazquez has brought the community of Fort Worth together by creating murals that shed light on social issues and injustices.
Jan Ballard holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since joining the Texas Christian University faculty, she has taught and assisted in the development of courses, including Communication Graphics, Typography 1, 2, and 3, Corporate Identity, Publication Design, Professional Recognition, Portfolio and Marketing, and Senior Thesis. In 2019, she was honored to receive the TCU Deans’ Teaching Award. In the same year, she was honored by the Tenth District of the American Advertising Federation as Educator of the Year and was the first TCU female faculty member to be so honored. She is a core affiliate of Women and Gender Studies and an IdeaFactory Fellow. In 2018, she was featured in “Teaching Graphic Design History,” by Steven Heller, and in 2018, she was one of 60 international teachers featured in Heller’s “Teaching Graphic Design: Course Offerings and Class Projects from the Leading Graduate and Undergraduate Programs.”