Artist in Residence - Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith - Zora.JPG

Focus Lighting and the West Harlem Art Fund have collaborated with celebrated artist Dianne Smith to create a series of digital paintings to adorn the Arches of Harlem and celebrate the centennial of the New Negro Movement and Harlem Renaissance as its first installation.

Artist Statement

Alan Locke, Langston Hughes, Lois Mailou Jones, Elizabeth Catlett, Augusta Savage, Zora Neal Hurston, Selma Burke, Archibald Motley, Palmer Hayden, Jacob Lawrence, and Romare Bearden are just some of the artist, writers, and thinkers that have helped to shape the course of my life, thus why I moved to Harlem. It was c. 1991 while living in Los Angeles when I first watched an entire PBS special about the Harlem Renaissance. Right then I decided I would move back to New York City, to Harlem specifically to live out my dream of being an artist. Being a part of the Arches of Harlem is a full circle moment for me, particularly with the Centennial of the Harlem Renaissance as the backdrop. Cities from Columbus to Chicago are celebrating 100 Years of pure excellence in art and culture, and Harlem is no exception. As part of the Harlem community and a cultural worker, it is my duty and honor to pay homage to the legacy of these great men and women! The colors chosen for each of my most recent work reflect the artistic, cultural, social and intellectual synergy each of the men and women sparked in me throughout my creative journey. The twelve images  presented are part of a series I am working on entitled 100 Years in commemoration of the Harlem Renaissance. Artist have the ability to create narratives and weave stories, but we also have a responsibility to record history; all of which I take seriously. As such, through this project I am doing my part to recall, present, reimagine and document The Harlem Renaissance.