On Thursday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. (EST) Spruce Peak Arts hosted an important virtual panel discussion exploring the unique challenges faced by BIPOC artists in VT. A panel of 3 artists from across Vermont – Jennifer Herrera Condry (Brandon), Will Kasso (Brandon), and Harlan Mack (Johnson) will join together for a one-hour discussion, followed by a brief Q&A, facilitated by artist/moderator, ISAIAS of San Diego, CA.
“We’re grateful to this amazing group of artists for their willingness to speak their truth to our audience and shine a light on the challenges that exist for BIPOC artists in Vermont,” said Hope Sullivan, Spruce Peak Art’s Executive Director. “As an organization, Spruce Peak Arts is committed to creating a platform for racial and social justice topics to be explored and to leading the effort to confront discomfort and create lasting change in our community.”
This timely and important discussion features three artists from across Vermont:
Jennifer Herrera Condry (Panelist) of Juniper Creative Arts was born and raised in Harlem, New York, Jennifer is the daughter of Dominican immigrants. She worked for 22 years as a student affairs professional with a focus on multicultural student success before leaving to focus on building Juniper Creative Arts. During her 18 year tenure at Middlebury College, Jennifer led efforts for the retention and care of first-generation college students and students of color, and developed co-curricular programs to support student success, identity development and sense of belonging. Additionally, she has many years of experience in art curation and arts management. She is a 200-hour certified Hatha Yoga practitioner, an energy worker with Level 3 certification in Healing Touch and Level 2 certification in the Usui System of Reiki Healing, and a spiritual herbalist. She holds a Masters of Art in Spanish linguistics from the Middlebury Language Schools and a B.F.A in art history and business from Hunter College. Jennifer is a creative director, concept designer, and visionary who facilitates creative placemaking to foster community-building, personal expression, and healing.
Will Kasso Condry (Panelist) of Juniper Creative Arts was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Will Kasso is a renowned visual artist, graffiti scholar, and educator. Kasso studied fine art and illustration at The College of New Jersey as a first-generation college student. He furthered his education in the art of aerosol painting with the mentorship of legendary graffiti artist Daniel “POSE 2” Hopkins. Kasso refined his artistry in large-scale mural production under the tutelage of Dave McShane at Mural Arts Philadelphia. He has taught courses on the origins and politics of Graffiti and Street Art and the elements of Hip-Hop at Middlebury College. For over 20 years, Will’s public art initiatives and civic engagement have helped vulnerable and fractured communities come together to creatively solve issues that affect their neighborhoods and everyday lives. Kasso is a visionary and Afro-futuristic artist well-known for his use of bold color and layers. Additionally, his life’s work centers on using mural arts as a vehicle for community-building, activism, beautification, and healing.
Harlan Mack is a Vermont born multidisciplinary artist based at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. He employs blacksmithing, steel fabrication, painting, and oral storytelling to build an expanding, constellated narrative that invites viewers and listeners into an elaborate imaginary future timeline. This world is generated and inspired by Harlan’s life experience, exploration and thoughts around identity, labor, perception, contemplation, fiction, community, emergence and afro-futurism.
Harlan is work is currently being shown in Looking Outward – Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe ,VT, Whirligig Brewing, St. Johnsbury VT, and Highland Center for the Arts, Greensboro, VT.
Harlan’s work can also be found online through his website, and on instagram as, @harlan_mack , as well as @bloodmountainforge.
Harlan’s most recent body of work incorporates brightly painted reclaimed wooden fence and blackened forged steel elements, constructed into symbolic references depicted within his narrative future. Harlan’s use of forged steel faces and animal figures symbolize the complexity within every moment lived. Through this type of distillation and combination, Harlan, invites the viewer to contemplate, revive, and utilize the potential from disuse as a cornerstone to what comes next.
Gibran Isaias Lopez professionally known as ISAIAS – international muralist, speaker, writer is an international muralist and an eclectic artist that travels with his family to diverse parts of the world to collaborate with like-minded families to listen, learn, remember and share methods to align with the harmony of humans, animals and Mother Earth. They use the vehicle of multidisciplinary project-based learning including breathing techniques, free form dance, singing, music, theatre, art, storytelling, science, mathematics, communication media, nutrition, gardening, exercising, and many other experiential practices to co-create HARMONY with others.
He has authored a novel, “The Crow’s Aura: The Path to Forgiveness; and a companion workbook containing mental, physical and spiritual exercises titled: The Crow’s Aura: Unearthing Our Gifts Workbook.”
Due to his multi-faceted skills and work experience ISAIAS is sought out by U.S.A Embassies, architects, builders, program managers, community leaders, teachers, professors, counselors and therapists to collaborate with them on complex projects that require communication, trust and alignment with multiple moving parts.
This panel discussion is Sponsored by:
A Division of Brown & Brown of Massachusetts LLC