Robert Pruitt: Visiting Mosaic Project artist engages with high school, middle school students

. . .

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Robert Pruitt, one of this year’s two The Mosaic Project artists visited PCA&D  on October 2 and 3, working with high school and middle school students from the School District of Lancaster and Pequea Valley School district, as well as PCA&D’s BFA students. Of his experience, Robert said:

“The Mosaic Project was an excellent and productive program for me, and I hope for the students involved as well. I particularly enjoyed my time with the high school groups. They had great energy and really attacked the workshop exercises. It was exciting to see some of the ideas engaged within my own practice being tackled by these young artists. Their ability to collaborate and activate their imaginations so quickly and spontaneously was inspiring.” 

In addition to working with the high school and middle school students, Pruitt spoke with students, presenting his themes and process for creating art. He also participated in PCA&D’s First Friday reception and book signing with other Mosaic Project artist Shadra Strickland, and was a member of the  the kick-off panel discussion for International 24-Hours Comics Day.

Robert Pruitt is an artist living and working in Houston, TX. He makes drawings and sculptures about the complexity of black identity by combining contrasting signs and imagery of disparate Black influences and aesthetics. He layers Science Fiction, Hip Hop, comic books, and black political and social struggles into layered portraits of his friends and community. Robert has exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Studio Museum Harlem, the 2006 Whitney Biennial and various other museums and artists spaces. He is also a founding member of the artist collective Otabenga Jones & Associates.

The Mosaic Project is a multicultural exhibition and educational program for students and families in Lancaster County. To read about the legacy of The Mosaic Project, click here.

This year’s Mosaic Project exhibition features Robert Pruitt’s narrative portrait drawings exploring the complexity of black identity and Shadra Strickland’s painted illustrations that invite children and adults alike to ponder questions of contemporary and historical significance. Through their work, both artists explore themes of personal and cultural identity.

Although research is emerging that supports the significance of art in the lives of our youth, budget cuts and curricular demands are threatening the foundation of creativity in our public schools. In order to fill that gap as well as enrich the community, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design developed The Mosaic Project, a multicultural exhibition and education program for students and families in Lancaster County. This project began in 2009 with funding from the Lancaster County Community Foundation. In 2011 PCA&D made a commitment to the future of the Mosaic Project and has taken on the responsibility of sustaining and funding this important community-based project.

The Mosaic Project is composed of two distinct, yet interconnected components. The Mosaic Project exhibition and the educational programming. Each year two nationally renowned artists are invited to participate in PCA&D’s Mosaic Project. These artists are selected for their commitment to creating high quality artwork, which explores themes of individual and cultural identity.

Work by Mosaic artist Shadra Strickland.

Work by Mosaic artist Shadra Strickland.

Join us this Friday, October 16th, at 10 a.m. to hear Mosaic artist Shadra Strickland speak about her work. Shadra studied, design, writing, and illustration at Syracuse University and later went on to complete her M.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She won the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in 2009 for her work in her first picturebook, Bird, written by Zetta Elliott. Strickland co-illustrated Our Children Can Soar, winner of a 2010 NAACP Image Award.