Derrick Branch falls in love with his art, and has felt at times that art is his only friend. Nour Galil says, “I feel the beauty around me – color, shadow, people and light. From the beauty, I get ideas for my art…Art is something I cannot live without. If I couldn’t do art, I feel I would die. Art is my life.” John Hayes feels like he’s escaping when he makes art, “I lock myself into whatever picture I’m drawing. The house could be burning down, and I’d still be drawing.” For John Hendryx art is like praying, and for Warcheerah Kilima art is like therapy. He says that “If all the people in the world did art, a lot of the problems would be solved…” When people admire Carol Johnson’s artwork it’s an overwhelming feeling of being loved, and when Shorty Rose is doing art he feels “perfect.” Though the members of the ANEW Artists’ Alliance are varied in background, style, and media, they are universally inspiring in their passion for creating art and their generosity in sharing it with others.
(Click on the image to see the artist’s name and statement)
The ANEW Artists Alliance
Twenty years ago, in 2001, five self-taught visual artists who used the services of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) and had participated for several years in the Extra Helpings Art Program at TASK, met with Extra Helpings volunteer Susan Darley to discuss forming an artist cooperative. The nascent idea was to offer all TASK patrons, who possessed artistic interests and talents but did not have the personal resources to pursue their creative activities, a collegial environment in which to hone their creative abilities and sell their artwork, reaping the benefits of their efforts.
From the outset, the artists made all the decisions about how the cooperative was run and what projects it undertook. Membership in the group also provided an opportunity for the artists to learn entrepreneurial skills. The artists named their organization “The A-TEAM Artists of Trenton,” and the group grew quickly. Soon the walls of the soup kitchen became a year-round gallery for the display of A-TEAM artwork. Over the years, the A-TEAM artists have participated in hundreds of shows at diverse venues, including museums, galleries, corporate and government offices, religious institutions and non-profit organizations.
The A-TEAM artists also reached out to the Trenton community by lending their work to local businesses and non-profit groups and by leading monthly art workshops for residents of the Rescue Mission of Trenton and clients of ARC/Mercer. In addition, the artists hosted visits from students at local public schools and universities and patients from hospital art therapy programs.
The artists recently renamed their venture the “ANEW Artists Alliance.” Membership is open to everyone in the TASK community, and like the original A-TEAM, all aspects of ANEW are run by and for the artists, themselves.
If you would like to know more about the artists and their new undertaking visit their website at ANEWartists.com. If you would like to contact any of the artists directly, please e-mail ANEW Artists Alliance volunteer Susan Darley at email@example.com.