Highlighting the work of four WAE Center women artists for Women’s History Month
Each day, artists Faye Graye, Esther Tanahashi, and Yvette Lucas cultivate, educate, encourage, and bear witness to the artistic process of our WAE Center artists. They are truly passionate about their work as art facilitators and we are truly grateful they are part of the WAE Center.
As we near the end of Women’s History Month, what better way to celebrate all our WAE Center women artists than to let Faye, Esther, and Yvette reflect on the women members with whom they work?
Faye reflects on two women artists who are regular participants in her classes.
Erin R. is a very imaginative artist. She can create art out of anything in my Make Use Make Art class. Her work often takes the form of a creature or character. Erin gives these creations names and stories to go with them. With her rich imagination she can create worlds worth visiting. Her work has been regarded as some of the best outsider art, she has had pieces purchased by collectors. Give Erin a string, a cardboard tube and a piece of fabric and she will make you a new friend.
Janet B. has a very strong style. Her angular graphic works are full of color. Her bright magic marker pieces are like explosions going this way and that. They almost read like a story with the colors directing you to follow them along their path. Janet is very proud of having been a forklift driver in her earlier life. Now her artwork is something that lifts the spirits of anyone who sees them. Janet participates in my Daily Practice of Art class.
Esther comments on her work with Debbie H., a long-time artist and resident of JSDD.
I have worked with Debbie for many years, painting at the WAE Center art studio. She tends to be self- conscious and unsure of herself. Debbie often checks the time, looking at the clock so frequently that we decided to take the clock down from the wall so she could better keep her focus without the pressure of time when painting.
With the onset of the COVID quarantine, what seemed a disadvantage became an interesting journey of discovery for Debbie. Yes, art on Zoom! I look at her while she is working during the one-hour Art with Esther class. She seems focused and into her work. She does not look up from her piece, for very long stretches of time. I become curious but I cannot see much. She is just one of four or five people in one little Zoom box. I just love to see her hand moving, she is deeply into her work and it is so good to see.
When we are just about done with the class, Debbie wants to show her work. It looks like a complex web of lines. Some with marker, some with dark paint. It pulls me in. I am fascinated. I feel she gave me the privilege to take a deeper look into her world. Her painting feels so genuine to me. It moves me.
Yvette talks about working with Kimmy F. in Kitchen Table Printmaking class.
Kimmy is a recent WAE Center member who signed up for WAE to Connect classes in April 2020, during the COVID-19 shutdown. Though she is a new member, Kimmy was a long-time participant in the former WAE Beyond evening program.
Kimmy says, “The WAE Center is pretty cool; the people are so nice.” As she began taking her first online printmaking class, her interest in other activities grew. She decided to become a member so she could explore and learn more. Kimmy is now taking classes in meditation, music, printmaking, painting, and three different art classes online. Though Kimmy did not do much art before joining us, she says, “The WAE Center brought out the artist in me. It’s really fun!”
Kimmy is an enthusiastic learner who will often work outside of class to practice techniques she is interested in. It’s clear that she enjoys making art. When Kimmy is painting, she says she “loses herself in the painting” and becomes part of it.
She brings a joyful presence to class as she engages in conversation with other students and staff while working. Kimmy has been such an asset; she is thoughtful, hardworking and brings so much positive energy to the class.
Supported by a generous grant from the Healthcare Foundation of NJ