For Annie Lee, art become a way for her to tell stories about the world around her. In some of her work, you can see how she has captured a scene she has personally witnessed. In other pieces, you see her whimsical view of the world – full of color, humor and the human experience.
Annie Lee’s partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation dates back more than 10 years. In 2007, she was commissioned to create the “official” image for the Fantastic Voyage that year, only the second time such an image was requested. What makes “White Night” so special is that it was only sold during that year’s cruise. Additionally, she worked closely with Tom Joyner who commissioned her to do dozens over pieces over the years from Christmas Cards to celebrations of HBCUs to political messages.
Years ago, when asked about her inspiration for her poignant “White Night” painting, she shared a story that reflected so much on her unique ability to capture moments in time with color, emotion and detail. Lee talked about watching the thousands of cruise passenger adorned in their white attire during one of the themed “dress up” nights on the Fantastic Voyage. As she recalled, “Everyone looked like angels.”
As we celebrate the life of Annie Lee, we ask you to purchase a copy of “White Night” for your personal collection or as a gift. Remember, this is an exclusive offer: There are the only remaining prints.
All proceeds from the sale will benefit the Tom Joyner Foundation/Annie Lee Memorial Arts Fund that will be used to provide scholarships to the “TJF Fine Arts Scholars”, recognizing talented young artists HBCUs who aspire to become the next Annie Lee, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence or Romare Bearden.
Thank you for your support – and investing in our HBCUs.
Annie Lee - White Night
Donate to the Tom Joyner Foundation/Annie Lee Memorial Arts Fund
Internationally Acclaimed Artist Best Known for Her “Faceless Paintings” Portraying Culture and Emotion
Annie Lee had a very special gift. She let her artwork do the talking. She had the unique talent to paint a scene that captured people’s emotions. She lured you into her work with her wistful brushes of color. If her painting included people, you could hear them talking and laughing. If her painting had someone playing the harp or a saxophone, you could imagine the music. While Lee’s work featured African Americans, she really captured all Americans life from all angles.
Annie Lee’s signature of was to show images devoid of faces. Her subject’s body language and setting expressed strong feelings in a unique way that moved her audience.
Over the decade, Lee has been a huge supporter of the Tom Joyner Foundation. Without hesitation, she donated her time and artwork to help the Foundation raise money to help keep students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Her Higher Education: A Way to Soar painting celebrates the successes of the students at these HBCUs achieving great heights. Her White Night painting captures the elegance and whimsy of one of the theme nights on board the Fantastic Voyage, an annual weeklong cruise that is a huge fundraiser for the Foundation, where she was a regular exhibitor. In 2011, Lee celebrated her 70th birthday, including a special visit from Tom Joyner and comedian/actor Sinbad.
Born in Gadsden, Ala., Annie Lee was raised in Chicago She began painting at age 10 in elementary school, where she won her first art contest and received a free semester of study at the Art Institute of Chicago. She continued honing her artistic skills resulting in a four-year scholarship to Northwestern University. Lee did not resume painting until she was 40 years old.
By then, she had lost two husbands to cancer and raised a daughter from her first marriage and a son from her second. While working as the chief clerk at Northwestern Railroad, Annie studied art at night, eventually earning a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Art from Loyola University.
Lee worked during the day and painted at night. Painting became her refuge from the work that inspired one of her most famous paintings – Blue Monday. The painting depicts a woman struggling to pull herself out of bed on a Monday morning – a feeling Annie could relate to. Her dedication to her art proved successful when at her first gallery show in 1985 she sold all of her pieces within four hours. In fact, it was so successful that she allowed prints to be made from some of her originals to meet the demand for her work. However, Annie didn’t want to lose the security of her “day job” and continued to work for the railroad.
Later her painting My Cup Runneth over became one of her most acclaimed storied pieces. Women of all cultures could relate to the story of a woman in a white dress sitting on a pillow next to a table with tea on it, and praying with an open bible in her lap
Her dedication and work paid off, establishing her as an iconic, internationally renowned artist.
Annie Lee will be missed. Her work will live on forever. Visit the Tom Joyner Foundation Art Gallery to Purchase a Exclusive Annie Lee Art Piece [CLICK HERE]
Updated: 2/25/2014 11:37 AM CST BY TOM JOYNER FOUNDATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kennett Square, Pa. (Feb. 19, 2014)—Kendal-Crosslands Communities (KCC) and Cheyney University (CU) of Pennsylvania will unveil a collaborative work of art and photographs that are expected to pave the way for more collaborative projects between seniors at the retirement community and college students at the nation’s first institution of higher learning for African Americans. The artistic venture, Celebrating the Art of Collaboration, will be the focus of a reception and ceremony on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 4 pm in the Lounge at the Kendal at Longwood campus, 1109 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, PA
Celebrating the Art of Collaboration
The two sides proved that they could work in partnership, despite what some might call a generation gap and racial barriers, and to their delight, they found that they had much in common. They share a legacy in Quaker roots and Quaker tradition since KCC was founded in 1971 by a $300,000 gift from the Philadelphia Yearly meeting with a charge to find a better way in retirement and Cheyney was founded because of Richard Humphreys, a Quaker philanthropist who donated $10,000 to design and establish a school to educate African Americans.
Lawrence Green, CU’s Assistant Vice President for University Advancement and External Relations, who helped plan the collaboration said, “It became apparent that the Quaker roots that both organizations share provided a bridge that would bring commonality to Cheyney University students and Kendal’s residents.”
CU’s Fine Art Honor Society students came to Kendal twice several months ago to interview some of the residents,” explained CU Art Professor Marietta Dantonio-Madsen. “Then, our biology students came and toured the 500 acre Kendal landscape with some of KCC’s Horticultural Committee, identified plants with them and took pictures.” The pictures and artwork that will be unveiled at the February 27 reception is the culmination of the collaboration between KCC and CU—showcasing the students’ talents and highlighting the residents’ tastes and life experiences. In addition, students from CU’s Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management (HRTM) major will work side-by-side with KCC’s dining staff to assist with the afternoon reception.
KCC resident Mary Lee Barker thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration and looks forward to the unveiling of the finished products. “I saw youth again,” she exclaimed. “They were without pretense. It was an exhilarating experience interacting with the students.” Karen Cromley, also a KCC resident, said she appreciated the students’ talents, their desire for art, and the range and variety of topics and subject matter that they study at Cheyney. She also enjoyed getting to know them better. “I learned of their hopes and dreams for the future,” she proudly acknowledges.
CU sophomore Dymund Coles, a dual Communication/Graphic Design major, worked closely with Cromley in the collaboration process, and says she can’t wait for Cromley to see the finished product of their efforts. “I’m excited about the upcoming unveiling,” Coles gushed. “It’s going to be awesome and I think the crowd is going to be pleased.”
Collaboration between KCC and CU
This isn’t the first collaborative effort between KCC & CU. Cheyney students previously worked in KCC’s dining services department. In addition, KCC sponsored a Keystone Honors Academy event at Cheyney last year. This latest partnership, however, brings the students back in touch with seniors.
“This collaboration touches on so many aspects of diversity,” explained Audrey Super, KCC Director of Human Resources. “It provides residents and students an opportunity to explore intergenerational differences. This collaboration helped to eliminate barriers that may exist between groups of very diverse backgrounds and experiences. We believe this is a model for other educational institutions and organizations demonstrating the benefit from learning from each other and contributing meaningful work to the community in which we live and work.”
About Kendal-Crosslands: For over 40 years, Kendal~Crosslands has been a non-profit provider of programs and services that advocates for and empowers older adults to achieve their full potentials. Nestled on close to 500 acres in the Kennett Square area, Kendal~Crosslands is a continuing care retirement community.
About Cheyney University
A liberal arts university, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (Cheyney, PA) hosts signature programs such as the Keystone Honors Academy, the Call Me Mister teaching program, the Aquaculture Research and Teaching Laboratory and the accredited Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program. Recognized as the first institution of higher learning for African Americans, Cheyney University has been educating students for 177 years. The University offers baccalaureate and graduate degree programs at two locations, Cheyney and Philadelphia, PA – Center City. For more information, please visit the website at cheyney.edu.
Click here to make a donation to Cheyney University.
Caron Bowman has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Master of Arts degree in ESE. Her artwork has received international recognition and has been on display in various museums and galleries in the United States, Europe and Asia.
This year, she was a featured artist in the Wynwood Miami Mix Art Fair. She was selected by Bombay Sapphire Corporation /Russell and Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Art Foundation to be included in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. The series showcases the best emerging artist around the United States.
The Beck’s corporation selected her as a semi-finalist for the 2012 Beck’s Green Box augmented reality series. Her work is currently on display on the Beck’s global website. Her art was chosen as the official image for the 2012 Miami Beach Stepping Out for the Arts Luncheon. She was selected for the Fiat /Redeye graffiti challenge which showcase the best in graffiti and street art in Broward County. Rapper Kendrick Lamar in association with Creative Allies showcased her artwork in NYC at the Galapagos Art Space.
She has been profiled in publications including The American Latino Museum, The 2012 and 2013 Los Angeles African American Heritage Guide and Nick Knight’s – SHOW studio. Caron is the recipient of numerous honors including the Palm Beach County Cultural Council NARP residency Grant and the Lighthouse Art Center Expressive Textiles Award. Her accomplishments include having a piece featured in the film “Just Cause” featuring Blair Underwood and Sean Connery.
Throughout the years, Caron has lent her talent, energy, and time to many philanthropic causes, such as Armory Art Center, The ARC of Palm Beach County and Kretzer Piano Music Foundation. For the Kretzer foundation’s Key to the City project, she painted a piano that was displayed in the Northwood Art District. After its public residency, the piano was donated to a local children’s charity. Using the arts to educate, Caron has worked with disabled students, creating programs to help children reach their goals no matter the disability. She currently resides in Florida where she continues to develop her visual art.
[pullquote_right]“I am an artist by nature. I believe that my FAITH increases my talent. I believe that the quality of art should not be based on its’ medium nor canvas, but rather by the skill of the artist. I give a little of myself in creating which adds soul to my subjects. I am committed to expounding a newfound respect for the use of charcoal in Fine Arts.”[/pullquote_right]
Adrian Pickett’s mastery of charcoal demonstrates his intricate skill of technical perfection in his artwork. Gifted in the use of many mediums, including oils and acrylics, his current passion for the use of charcoal stems from the challenges it presents. As a self-taught artist, Adrian has spent most of his life exploring different creative outlets. His unique approach reveals the essence of his subject and allows his renderings to expose a truly naturally talented artist.“I am an artist by nature. I believe that my FAITH increases my talent. I believe that the quality of art should not be based on its’ medium nor canvas, but rather by the skill of the artist. I give a little of myself in creating which adds soul to my subjects. I am committed to expounding a newfound respect for the use of charcoal in Fine Arts.”
Adrian Pickett’s mastery of charcoal demonstrates his intricate skill of technical perfection in his artwork. Gifted in the use of many mediums, including oils and acrylics, his current passion for the use of charcoal stems from the challenges it presents. As a self-taught artist, Adrian has spent most of his life exploring different creative outlets. His unique approach reveals the essence of his subject and allows his renderings to expose a truly naturally talented artist.
Thomas Williams started drawing at the tender age of 12, after comic books had piqued his interest in the ability of the pictorial to convey meaning and further a narrative. His high school years were devoted to tutelary having concentrated on the trade, tools, and techniques of commercial art, including an enthusiastic exploration of painting and airbrushing. Williams declined an invitation to attend the Art Institute of Chicago in 1983, opting instead to pursue his artistic training at Chicago’s American Academy of Art, where his concentration had been in rendering the human form.
During the course of Williams’ formal education, he had been introduced to the joys of depicting landscapes, and he has been drawing them ever since. Williams had continued his scholastic endeavors at Chicago’s Columbia College, where his studies had focused on illustration, design, and figure drawing.
His entrepreneurial efforts began during his early years, wherein he sold original airbrush creations as a teen; for the past fifteen years, Williams has worked in the profession of advertising, dedicating his free time to watercolor workshops and artistic creations in colored pencil, acrylics, and oil paints of a more personal vein. Williams has also drawn the comic “Shoplife” for Shoptalk magazine. As of late, Williams has been inspired by the works and guided by the gracious attentiveness of fellow artisan Kevin WAK Williams.
I have been influenced by quite a few styles since beginning my adventures in art, but my greatest affinity has always been with the proponents and masters of Realism and the Baroque Period, as I have deeply admired an artistic ability to capture the emotional and active essence of a particular moment in time, in media res. I perceive my own artwork as consisting of a tangible suffusion of the manifestation of my creativity and vision, which helps to animate, or “breathe life,” into my objects d’art. I am equally enamored with multiple media, showing no favoritism towards the many tools of my artisan calling, whether acrylic paints, pastels, watercolors, or airbrushes, each of which upon I rely to assist in making my subjects transform into vivid and realistic depictions of that which is nebulous or ephemeral, the fruits of my combined imagination and perception.
Kevin Okeith Corley is an Atlanta based painter from Chicago who is known for his distinctive impressionistic paintings. Described as one of the most promising artists to emerge in the 21st Century. His pre-eminent works are large figures, eyes closed, executed with a pallet knife into multi-faceted original paintings.
For him, music and art are inextricably linked. Having played the trumpet when he was young, these two creative disciplines influence not only his life, but also his oil and acrylic paintings. He works only when inspired and the impetus always comes from life and music.
Kevin Okeith was born Kevin Okeith Corley in 1980 in Chicago. As a child Okeith was involved in many activities including basketball, track & field, music and graffiti art. Although Okeith enjoyed them all, music and art resonated in his soul. Upon graduation from high school Okeith relocated to Atlanta, GA in 1999 to attend Morris Brown College and majored in Computer Science. Art to Okeith, at this point, was merely a hobby. After college Okeith entered into Corporate America in 2003 to pursue a career as a computer technician. Filling a void within, Okeith began to explore his talents in art expecting only to relieve stress from the day’s work. It was not until Keith’s mother expressed to him that “art is your talent” that he began to seriously pursue art professionally.
With no formal training in art, books have taught Okeith rather than any teacher. Okeith spent many nights, from the time he left the corporate job to the early hours in the morning, studying technique, composition, color and the masters of art. In 2007, Keith’s original work “Universal” graced the walls of Art on 5, one of the largest African American galleries in the Southeast. Marking the first major milestone in his art career, this simultaneously increased Keith’s confidence as an artist, inspiring him to push himself to new levels. From the relationship formed with gallery owner Andre Thompson, Okeith met fellow artist Gilbert Young and Kevin A. Williams /WAK. Each of the artists, in some capacity, helped guide his career, most notably Kevin A Williams /WAK who later became Keith’s mentor. Since 2008 Keith’s works have been displayed at the National Black Arts Festival, the Home Depot Corporate Head Quarters, Adidas Originals, “My Parents My Sister and Me” on NBC starring Debbie Allen, and in “The Confidant”, an Movie starring David Banner, Kenya Moore and Boris Kodjoe. Keith’s most impressive accomplishment to date was his first solo art exhibition entitled Love Supreme that was on display for 4 months at the Chattanooga African American Museum.
As a lover of music, jazz and other soulful genres in particular, Okeith has created under the artistic influence of John Coltrane and Miles Davis to name a couple. Okeith creates solely off of inspiration and allows the feelings within the moment to guide him. Art, to Okeith, is the materialization of thought and it expresses the spirit through form. Okeith believes the magic starts in the mind, and artists know that whatever they can clearly create in their minds can be made manifest into a concrete reality. Keith’s main goal is to use art as an educational tool that will inspire others to look within themselves and manifest the divine essence of their being. As Okeith grows both professionally and personally in turn his progression will be evident in his creations as well. Keith’s main focus going forward is to produce art that delivers a message. Whether the message is political, social, cultural, or spiritual, Okeith is destined to have a significant place in the history of great art.
Al Burts is a skillful artist who uses the thin lines of a ballpoint pen to create bold works of art that display African American themes such as homelessness, migrations and struggles of average Americans.
He creates emotional portraits through his unique style of carefully using line and space, and parts of various individuals that he may experience in his life. Their stories are conveyed through a painting, drawing, or other mixed media. He works on a variety of surfaces including un-stretched canvas, paper and wood to displace his realistic and symbolic images inspired by the African roots of America.
Al Burts grew up in Alexandria, VA and received his formal training from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. He is an alumnus of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and a retiree of The National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Burts is a two time Semi-finalist winner of the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series and will be exhibiting for the second time in Art Basel Miami Beach this December 2012. Burts has exhibited in the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), the DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago, IL), International Visions Gallery (Washington, DC), T. Miller Gallery (Baltimore, MD), Evolve the Gallery (Sacramento, CA), and Gallery Guichard, (Chicago, IL).
Nina Fabumni says that some of her earliest memories are of me making art; I developed my artistic skills just as I learnt how to read and write but I realized it was a gift when I noticed that my peers could not do draw like I could. As a teenager, art became my means of expression, I wrote poetry and I made art and upon my high school graduation, I received a proficiency Certificate in Fine Art but dissuaded by my parents I ended up with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Real Estate
As a graduate, I worked in Broadcasting, Banking and Telecommunications, I moved from industry to industry in search for what I always had; a fulfilling career. I never stopped drawing and painting. In 2001, I got introduced to a Gallery owner who purchased some of my work. I was pleasantly surprised. In that same year, I made
my first oil painting. I would paint and sell one-on-one to those who were privy to seeing my work as it was like a hobby to me. The Gallery owner introduced me to Art associations in Nigeria, which I eventually became a member of. I slowly integrated myself into the Art world in Nigeria and had my first Art Exhibition in 2008, and since then I have been exhibiting and selling my works while running a regular 8-5 job.
In 2011, after working on a large art commission, I finally picked up my dream of an MFA Fine Art painting at the Academy Of Art University. I am currently an MFA Fine Art Painting Graduate Student.
Inspired by nature and my origins, my art gives expression to the real and the surreal. My works have been exhibited at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, The Museum Of African Diaspora, Studio Gallery in Pacific Heights and The AAU Gallery at the Cannery In San Francisco and Joyce Gordon Gallery in Oakland. I am also a member of the Bay Area Arts Group located in Berkeley and the Portrait Society of America.
If you’d like to get in on the pre-cruise auction, click here today!
We’re counting down to the 2014 Fantastic Voyage. We want to make sure that you check out the bios and videos of our many artists who will have their work featured on this year’s Ultimate Party with a Purpose. Some of the featured artists in the Pre-Cruise Auction include: Caron Bowman, Al Burts, Nina Fabumni, James Gayles, Adam Guichard, Andre Guichard, Kevin Okeith, Adrian Pickett and Thomas Williams.