In response to the 2020 global pandemic.
In response to the United States quarantine and individuals dealing with isolation.
In response to the Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA + DACA movements.
In response to remote video communication in everyday life, access to technology and internet connection, access to food, money, and supplies.
In response to the world before the coronavirus/COVID-19.
In response to Humanity.
COVID-19 Global Pandemic and Race, Gender + Civil Equity bring to light the urgent need for change in how we create, how we work, how we learn and grow with and from one another, how we converse with others, how we design and operate within systems, and most urgent of them all… how we respect humanity.
How do we explore how we create a future society evolved for the betterment of humanity? FROM THIS DAY FORWARD questions systemic injustice and suggests avenues of thought toward potential solutions in creating an inclusive, thoughtful society. How do we come together as a community to find these answers?
About the Artists
Paula Gasparini-Santos is an immigrant artist born in Brazil. She earned her MA in clinical mental health and art therapy from Naropa University. Her artwork brings together creativity, poetry, and psychological research and acts as a tool for social justice, personal development, and community engagement. In her paintings, words blend into colorful backgrounds evoking universal messages about humanity and self-awareness as well as philosophies about life, love, and faith. Santos believes art is a platform for dialogue and invites us to look deeper, ask questions, and find comfort within the narrated experiences of life. Her bright and visually satisfying palettes stand out on walls and draw attention, as the words ask viewers to consider their experiences and how they resonate with what is displayed. If she wants her creativity to achieve anything, it is to invite curiosity—to make us avidly curious about the workings of life, from the global to the intimately personal.
Narkita Gold is a Denver-based photographer and has been honing her skills in digital photography since 2009. Originally a public relations professional, Gold blends her photography skills with storytelling, creating a perfect marriage of her two passions. Her first creative endeavor, Black in Denver, is a visual ethnography series that takes a critical look at identity, specifically at small black communities, solitude/isolation, and the evolution of the self. Gold’s approach includes participant observation, face-to-face interviews, and surveying both locals and transplants to gain a better understanding of Black life in Denver. She is passionate about arts and culture, and she finds inspiration in the human experience, city life, and architecture.
Rochelle Johnson was born and raised in Denver, where she discovered her passion for drawing at an early age. As a child she was inspired by the work of Lois Mailou Jones and Jacob Lawrence. In 1989 Johnson enrolled at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, where she learned to create stories using oils and watercolors and earned a degree in Illustration.
Johnson moved to Seattle in 1992. When she returned to Denver, she resumed her pursuit of storytelling through painting. Today Johnson continues to develop her unique style of storytelling, and has become a curator. In 2017 she curated Inclusion: Diverse Voices of the Modern West at the McNichols Civic Center Building in Denver, and in 2018 she curated The Search Within: Daughter of the Diaspora at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts in Grand Junction, CO.
Kim Putnam is a contemporary artist and adjunct professor at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. She considers herself a “media inclusive artist,” meaning she works in a variety of media depending on the concept. Through her art, Putnam seeks to inspire conversation, communicate, and explore current topics relating to identity and gender in our culture, including objectification, the male gaze, gender biases, and voice as agency.
Putnam is represented by Spark Gallery in Denver, and she is a member of the international art collective ArtNauts. She earned her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and her MA in Art History from Ohio State University.
Ellamaria Ray is a professor of Africana studies who dives into art through the lens of anthropology. She uses visual and performing art to understand and analyze cross-cultural human experiences, particularly those of continental and diasporic Africans. Ray’s ceramic sculpture emerges from a commitment to acknowledging the ways continental and diasporic Africans share cultural commonalties while simultaneously expressing cultural distinctions. As an anthropologist and visual artist, she strives to teach and understand the complex vision diasporic Africans are creating for themselves and for all humanity in the twenty-first century.
Ray earned a BA from Colorado College and an MA and PhD in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University. She has studied figurative and conceptual ceramic sculpture with Arthur González and ceramics with Jean Van Keuren (Davis Arts Center), Arnold Zimmerman (Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO), Gayla Lemke and Barry Rose (Art Students League of Denver), and Marie EvB Gibbons.
Kenzie Sitterud is a multimedia artist and designer who creates immersive large-scale installations and designed experiences dealing with the unease the queer community feels navigating the heteronormative world. Sitterud’s current work explores the denial of Americans’ crumbling democracy and the resulting humanitarian crises.
Born in Utah in 1986, Sitterud began their creative practice in 2008 with The Bathroom, their installation in Denver investigating conflicts between queerness and domestic spaces. Sitterud earned a BFA in Communication Design from Metropolitan State University of Denver and currently lives in Denver.
Sitterud is a 2017-2019 alumni Artist-in-Residence at RedLine Contemporary Art Center, Denver. They have received numerous grants, including a Denver Arts & Venues 2019 P.S. You are Here grant and public project commission. In 2019, Sitterud produced a series of experimental works exploring queerness in public spaces in collaboration with other Denver creatives for Denver Art Museum’s Untitled series.
Santo Sunra learned early in his life of the importance of art as a means to express himself. Growing up in Philadelphia, he often felt that his voice went unheard. The music of the 1980s provided him a space to safely explore and discover his identity.
Santo Sunra is a student of Hip Hop and has been inspired to observe all of its pillars, including B Boying, Graffiti, Emceeing, Knowledge of Self, and most recently, DJing. As a curator of music, he has created narratives and worked in many spaces in Denver, including the Clyfford Still Museum, RedLine Contemporary Art Center, and Leon Art Gallery. He was also the first DJ for Headroom Sessions at ReCreative Denver where he created the sonic landscape for the art.
Autumn T. Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist currently working in wood sculpture. Her work challenges the boundaries of visual literacy by transforming wood into soft, twisting forms, mimicking the endurance required to thrive amidst the oppression and marginalization of women of color.
Born in 1978, Thomas received her MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia in 2017 and her BFA in Visual Communication from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. She lives and works in Denver.
About Tya Alisa Anthony, Guest Curator
Tya Alisa Anthony, an independent curator, explores themes of social justice, ecological impact, and identity. Anthony’s identity-focused exhibitions offer exploration in both the shared and diverse experiences of contemporary American culture. While approaching socially illuminated topics involving people of color, the core of Anthony’s curatorial practice exists within the realm of the senses, ecology, and time. Anthony observes and creates space for works that explore the intersections of humanity while creating a space of autonomy and regard for bodies of color.
Born in 1978, Anthony’s hometown is Baltimore, MD, and she currently lives and works in Denver.
Thank you to our generous sponsors:
Nicky Wolman & David Fulker, Sue Schweppe, City of Boulder, Boulder Arts Commission, Scientific & Cultural Facilities District, Colorado Creative Industries, and National Endowment for the Arts.