Arlene Turner-Crawford

Room 43
collage & mixed media
12 x 12 in.

I am an image-maker, working in the media of drawing, Painting, collage and graphic Illustrations.

As a child of the 60’s, I was turned on by the Black Arts Movement. In 1968, Northern Illinois University’s Art Department had hired Nelson Stevens, a member of AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists.) “I Am Because We Are” was a point made in several works by AfriCOBRA artists. This speaks to me of a role and purpose for my own creativity. The African aesthetic is grounded in purpose; the African term for art is not separated from function. Within the Black Arts Movement, the image-makers function was for cultural nationalism; the art should help us to define ourselves, identify our customs and values, and direct us to higher consciousness.

I was the first African American to be confirmed with a MS.Ed. in Art Education from Indiana University’s Herron School of Art. To this day I maintain a commitment to community and activism. I have served on the Executive Board of the African American Arts Alliance, and I am a founding Board member of the Sutherland Community Arts Initiative and of Sapphire & Crystals, a collective of African American women artists.

© Arlene Turner-Crawford