EPISODE 10–HE AIN’T HEAVY

Gilbert and L. Winfrey Young advance African American culture through art promotion and preservation

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Title: EPISODE 10–HE AIN’T HEAVY

Host: Tomeka M. Winborne

Description: Gilbert and L. Winfrey Young advance African American culture through art promotion and preservation

Runtime: 44:15 minutes

    About Gilbert Young


Gilbert Young is a nationally renowned artist, muralist, and art conservator. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, he served 27 years as director and conservator of the multi-million dollar University of Cincinnati Fine Art Collection. A few of his monumental mural projects can still be viewed in the greater Cincinnati area.

In 1994 Young was named Artist-in-Residence to the University of Cincinnati. He relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in 1995 and became Artistic Director for the International Paint Pals Art Competition in conjunction with the 1996 Olympics. He was commissioned by Procter & Gamble to design the Salute to Greatness Award presented by the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, and was featured in Ebony Man magazine asa “Talented & Impressive Black Artist.” Young is the first artist to perform live on stage accompanied by an entire symphony orchestra while creating acommemorative work. The painting of Maestro Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati POPS orchestra was recently installed in the new School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati. Gilbert was recognized in “Who’s Who in Black Atlanta,” the 2010 and 2012 editions, and in July, 2011 he was honored by recording artist Big Boi and the Big Kidz Foundation as one of five “Champions of the Arts” along with Academy Award winner Mo’Nique, and actress/director Jasmine Guy. In 2012, Gilbert was inducted into the 66th edition of “Who’s Who in America.” 

Young is a frequent lecturer, and has been invited to speak at colleges and universities around the country including Harvard Law School, Spelman College, and Morehouse College. In 2001 he was presented with the prestigious Heritage Award for Outstanding Visual Arts at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. In 2004, he received the Pallet Award for Lifetime Achievement in the arts during the Heritage Arts Festival in Atlanta. In 2011 he was honored with a Resolution from the Georgia House of Representatives naming him State of Georgia Artist of the Year, and in 2013 he received the Phoenix Award from the city of Atlanta for outstanding contributions to the arts as he celebrated his 50th year as a professional artist. In 2014 He was awarded the “Hero & Heroine Lifetime Achievement Award” during the Sweet Auburn Spring Fest. In 2015 the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus recognized him for outstanding artistic achievement. And this year, in 2017, Gilbert Young received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Barack H. Obama Foundation.

Young is the only artist in the world to paint a portrait of an American President that is signed by the subject. The piece is entitled, “History + Hope = Change” and was signed by Barack Obama in 2008. In 2015, the artist was commissioned by the Congressional Club of Washington to create a portrait of Michelle Obama to be presented to her during the annual First Lady's Luncheon in Washington, DC.  Young's portrait honored Mrs. Obama's "Let's Move" campaign and was unveiled during the luncheon. 

Artwork by Gilbert Young can be found in galleries throughout the United States, in select cities around the world, and in many private and corporate collections including St. Petersburg, Russia’s City Hall.

HE AIN”T HEAVY

“Whoever you are, wherever you are in life, you have the ability to reach back and help someone else.  You are obligated to do it” 

Gilbert Young

 

 

 

   About L. Winfrey Young

L.Winfrey Young is Curator for the William “Bill” Traylor, Inc. and The Artistry of Bill Traylor, LLC. She is owner of gilbertyoungart.com, which publishes and distributes the work of artist Gilbert Young, folk artist William “Bill” Traylor, and portrait artist Carl Owens, and is co-Curator of Acquisitions for JARO, the world’s largest online application and platform for African American art and culture.

Young is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a BA in English Literature and Journalism. From 1983-1991, she served as Community Services Director for two Scripps Howard newspapers, The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post. She was the first African American department head in both newspapers’ histories. While in Cincinnati Young served on the Red Cross Board of Directors and was Chairman of the Red Cross Volunteer Resources Committee. She served as Chair of the promotions committee for the Cincinnati Ballet Community Outreach program and was a member of the Cincinnati Art Museum Outreach Committee.

Young relocated to Atlanta in 1995 where she launched Winfrey/Young PR and Dantz Haus Fine Art Publishing. Winfrey Young PR is a boutique public relations and marketing firm focused on advancing the appreciation of art and artists and promoting the African American art and cultural scene. Dantz Haus Fine Art published and distributed the works of the renowned artist Gilbert Young.

In 2006 Young was appointed to the board of directors for the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. In 2006 and 2010 she served as PR director for the bi-annual Ansley Park Tour of Homes. In 2008 Young was named PR director for the ArtReach Foundation, Inc. to promote “Breaking the Veils: Women Artists of the Islamic World,” an international exhibition of contemporary art that toured Europe before its debut in the United States at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park.

In 2013, Young served as PR consultant to the Carrie Steele Pitts Children’s Home, one of the oldest homes for orphaned African American children in the United States. In 2016, she was appointed Chair of the Arts and History committee for the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Association. The community of Pittsburgh was founded in 1883 and is one of the oldest African American neighborhoods in Atlanta’s southwest. In 2017, Young was appointed to the Executive Board of the Pittsburgh Collaborative and named Chair of the arts and history committee. The Collaborative is comprised of representatives of Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities as well as neighbors, business owners, and investors interested in preserving the history and legacy of Atlanta’s historic Pittsburgh neighborhood.

In 2018, Young coordinated and directed “Where the Heart Is,” an arts and history project sponsored by WonderRoot and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, who commissioned a series of historic markers for installation in Atlanta’s historic Pittsburgh neighborhood based on two years of research by Young. Information panels on each of the markers were written by Young.  In addition, she coordinated and directed the creation of the second longest mural in the state of Georgia. Commissioned by Carter & Associates, the mural spans 700 feet and was painted by a team of artist led by Gilbert Young.

In 2019, Winfrey Young was named Chairman of Friends of Pittman Park. Pittman is one of the largest parks in the Atlanta Public Parks system.

Winfrey Young’s first novel, “Freedom Boulevard” will be published in 2019. She is mother to three sons, Matthew Perry, Bart Cody, and Gilbert Montana, and is wife to Gilbert Young.

   The Artist Bill Traylor

The artist known as William "Bill" Traylor (1853–1949) was born into slavery on the plantation of George Traylor in Dallas County, Alabama where he remained after Emancipation. He continued to work there as a sharecropper until the death of his former master. Traylor began drawing at the age of 85 after moving to Montgomery, Alabama.  His works were created in pencil on pieces of salvaged cardboard. From 1939 to 1942, Traylor created works from a studio he created on a sidewalk. His gallery wall was a nearby fence.  He is known to have produced at least 1500 pieces of art from 1939 until his death in 1949.

The first public exhibition of Traylor’s works took place in 1940, but it wasn’t until the late 1970's that his work received attention from the white art world. Traylor is now recognized as "important" as an African American artist, American folk artist, American Modern artist, and Self-taught artist, but there were many self-taught artists and artisans in the South who had been born into slavery, survived the atrocities of that system, and went on to display their gifts and talents and skills while treading the dangerous waters of the Jim Crow era.

These artisans include visual artists, sculptors, blacksmiths, carpenters, pottery makers, jewelers, writers, and orators who created beautiful works while honing their skills during the most horrific era in American history. Each was blessed with the ability to share their lives and experiences through their art.  Many were exploited by folk who were used to paying little or nothing for what they received from Negroes.  Traylor’s works sold for between 15 cents and $2, highlighting the fact that "collectors" who voraciously bought up Traylor’s works were not interested in enhancing his declining quality of life. Traylor observed:

 "Sometimes they buy them when they don't even need them..."

Angie Thomas And George Tillman Jr. On How Their Own Life Experiences Inspired ‘The Hate U Give’
The author and director of "The Hate U Give" reflect on how it was inspired by their personal experiences.

In conversation, NPR’s Ailsa Chang sat down with Angie Thomas, the acclaimed author of The Hate U Give, and the movie’s director George Tillman Jr., to discuss how the book and film connected with their own personal experiences.

The Hate U Give tells the story of a teenage girl, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who is a part of two worlds: the poor, predominantly black neighborhood where she resides, and the white, affluent prep school that she attends. Her worlds are turned upside down when she witnesses the fatal police shooting of her childhood friend, an unarmed black male teenager. Following the tragic shooting, Starr is drawn towards a life of activism to stand up for her friend, who is called a “thug” and other misinformed names by the media, and to protest the wrongful actions of police brutality.

George Tillman Jr., the director of the film, spoke with Chang about what it was like to base certain scenes from the movie on actual talks he received growing up. He discussed how emotional it was to bring these scenes to life, particularly because he now has a teenage son himself. “This deals with history,” he said. “This deals with survival and how we can continue to stay on this earth without police brutality or being shot or being killed. You know, this is part of the fear of the African-American community.”

Another significant theme in the book is how Starr navigates between her two worlds, and how she feels an internal pressure to erase her blackness while at her fancy prep school with her white classmates. Certainly, many of us can relate to this uneasy pressure growing up or currently in the workplace, and this double life is actually based on author Angie Thomas’s life experiences.

Growing up, Thomas also lived in a mostly black neighborhood while attending a predominantly white, private college in Mississippi. She described her own experiences as a struggle, and practiced the art of code switching. “I would make myself more presentable I thought. I was careful of how I spoke. I was careful of how much emotion I showed,” Thomas said. “And it was a struggle because so often I was silent on things that mattered to me. And I would experience microaggressions from my classmates, and I was silent about them. I never called out the racism.”. READ MORE........

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