Orlando group pushes for more diversity in Central Florida art scene

The Solution Artist Collective works to bring representation for diverse artists

Pieces by Genevieve DeMarco and Jamile B. Johnson (https://www.thesolutionart.com/)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It all started in a garage with a group of artists thinking about the art scene in the Orlando area. They realized a lot of the artwork on display came from a small sect of artists. That’s when they noticed a lack of representation and decided to collect their resources and call themselves, “The Solution.”

Right now the group features four artists: Genevieve DeMarco, Jamile B. Johnson, Victorious McLeod and Yve.

The current members of The Solution Artist Collective: Yve, Genevieve DeMarco, Jamile B. Johnson, and Victorious McLeod (https://www.thesolutionart.com/)

“The concept of diversity became one of our goals through necessity. At the formation of our group, there were only a few galleries to show at, and they’d only give exhibits to group shows or curators of multiple artists," McLeod said. “If they gave a solo show, it was a pay-to-play game, and they were generally abstract expressionists who had political ties to the gallery. Through the group having multiple styles represented, we would continue to give quality and quantity without sacrificing either.”

Pieces titled “The Dissociate" & "Kaiseki 3" by Victorious McLeod

The group says they are collectively inspired by social issues.

“Our artwork explores racial concerns, mental health, self-care, and the masks people wear every day in society. We remain motivated to bring awareness to the world through our art,” said DeMarco.

If their artwork looks familiar, you may have seen it driving around. DeMarco and Johnson painted a mural in the Pine Hills area on Silver Star Road. It features Mary Ann Carroll and Alfred Hair from the Florida Highwaymen, a group of African American artists who painted the Florida landscape from the 1950s through the 1980s. Also on the mural, A.E. “Beanie” Backus. He was a landscape artist from Fort Pierce who taught Hair.

DeMarco and Johnson in front of their mural on 6330 Silverstar Road. (thesolutionart.com)

One of the owners of Wall Crawl in Orlando saw the mural, and commissioned Johnson to put together a piece at their studio for visitors to take pictures in front of. It features four African American historical figures with direct ties to Parramore: Ella Fitzgerald, Dr. William Monroe Wells, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy.

It’s all part of Black History Month and the wall will be on display until March 29.

Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Director of the Wells'Built Museum, in front of the Black History Month wall at Wall Crawl in Orlando. It features Dr. William Monroe Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy, and Ella Fitzgerald. (https://www.wallcrawl.com/)

As for ‘The Solution,’ the group says you can check out their work on their website, and their next exhibit will be called ‘New Wild.’ You can check it out at Bronze Kingdom beginning March 27.

About the Author:

Brooke is a news producer and has been with News 6 since January 2018. She grew up in Coral Springs and graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Before she came back to Central Florida, she worked in Fort Myers.