KISSIMMEE, Fla. – When News 6 first told you about the group, “The Solution Artist Collective” last year, we talked about how they came together because they noticed a lack of representation. They realized a lot of the artwork on display came from a small sect of artists.
Now the group - which consists of artists Genevieve DeMarco, Jamile B. Johnson, Victorious McLeod and Yve - is being featured in the Kissimmee city hall. It’s all through Osceola Arts in Kissimmee. They partnered with the city to present the “Art in Public Places” program.
“This program showcases original artwork created by Central Florida artists, providing artistic and cultural displays to engage and enrich the community,” said Marilyn Cortes-Lovato, the Director of Visual Arts at Osceola Arts in Kissimmee.
She says the city hall exhibitions are scheduled throughout the year, and the most popular exhibits celebrate Black History Month, Women’s History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month.
Marilyn Cortes-Lovato says she invited Orlando artist and curator Tre Mark Harris to curate and organize the Kissimmee City Hall from Jan. 7 through Feb. 28.
He says he met the artists from “The Solution Artist Collective” through the Orlando creative scene. He hopes their art work sparks some critical thinking.
“From the methodical content or subject matter created by the artisans, down to the season we are in. The irony of this exhibition along with the group that created it. Speaks with a volume loud enough to resonate with anyone. No matter your background or general belief system,” said Tre Mark Harris.
News 6 caught up with the artists from “The Solution Artist Collective” about their exhibit at Kissimmee City Hall. It’s titled “New Wild.” They say after a year of cancellations, it feels good to finally be back and they’re off to a productive start.
“While the term ‘New Wild’ may refer to the post-WWII expressionist art movement, The Solution describes their return to the Orlando Arts Scene through their fresh interpretation on the definition of wilderness, referring to ‘a natural state or uncultivated or uninhabited region,’ in which Orlando is considered an uncultivated metropolitan area with a great deal of credible potential. The work presented touches on many topics that include mental health and police brutality,” said McLeod.
The group says the protests on racial injustice last year, along with the pandemic certainly impacted their art work.
“We planned a show to address racial injustice that was set for June 2020, so that was already on our radar since it’s been an ongoing issue for our community since the dawn of time. As far as the pandemic, it changed the content of my work to more lighthearted paintings. Everything going on was so heavy I just needed a break to breathe and take care of my mental health,” said Johnson.
They also have a message for young aspiring Black artists who are trying to make it in the art scene.
“Stay true to the work you love to do and put yourself in the spaces that you want to be in. Make sure you price your work how you want because you know your value. Also, always keep going. Doesn’t matter if it’s a win or a loss, it’s all one pixel in your bigger picture. Always remember the bigger picture,” said DeMarco.
This year the group is working on their own individual projects, but they do have an upcoming show at Stella Jones Art Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana in October.
As for their city hall exhibit, Kissimmee City leaders tell us they usually have a reception to recognize the artists they feature, but this year they will recognize them during their next City Commission meeting on February 16th by presenting video with their artwork.