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Vote For Art

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Walk inside the College Avenue Branch Library and you’ll have to look up … way up … but it won’t be for the latest bestseller or classic novel.

Hanging high along the interior walls -- as close to the ceiling as you can get without actually being on it -- are 65 colorful works of art created by more than three dozen artists in varying stages of their careers.

Tasha Beckwith's Cosmic Diva II, is an original digital art print on paper.  - COURTESY OF D. DEL REVERDA-JENNINGS
  • Courtesy of D. Del Reverda-Jennings
  • Tasha Beckwith's Cosmic Diva II, is an original digital art print on paper. 

The 2-D and 3-D pieces are part of Flava Fresh!, an annual art series celebrating local, regional and national visual artists who specialize in everything from airbrushing to oils to multimedia.

Divided into a five-part series, Flava Fresh! features a different exhibition of “fresh” artworks at five locations throughout the city each year.

This year, Flava Fresh! has already been on display at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, the Indiana Interchurch Center’s gallery, and at the Garfield Park Art Center.

The current exhibit at the College Avenue Branch Library -- which opened Sept. 14th -- is the fourth in the series, but it offers a twist from the previous shows.

Instead of simply admiring the works on display, visitors get a chance to vote for their favorite pieces. The deadline for voting is 8 p.m. next Monday, Oct. 12th. The winners will be announced at the Artists Reception and Awards Ceremony from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 16th at the library.

This is the 16th year for Flava Fresh! Indianapolis-based artist and sculptor D. Del Reverda-Jennings created the event to offer her assistance to artists of color to help them get their works into local exhibitions.

“I knew of and found so many individuals of varied racial or ethnic backgrounds who aspired to be exhibited, to have their work shown somewhere in Indianapolis, right here in their own backyard, but who had no connection, knowledge of how to, or a way to get their work out there into the public's eye,” says Del Reverda-Jennings.

Artist Omar Rashan shows off his piece titled Astronomical Dream -- an acrylic, spray paint and marker work on canvas -- at Flava Fresh! It appears along with 64 other works on display at the College Avenue Branch Library. - COURTESY OF D. DEL REVERDA-JENNINGS
  • Courtesy of D. Del Reverda-Jennings
  • Artist Omar Rashan shows off his piece titled Astronomical Dream -- an acrylic, spray paint and marker work on canvas -- at Flava Fresh! It appears along with 64 other works on display at the College Avenue Branch Library.

Although it began as a way to give these artists the same opportunities as others in the city, Del Reverda-Jennings says the exhibit isn’t just for African-Americans.

“[Yes], we are a group of ‘artists,’ but our complexion is rendered in creativity and artisanship,” she says.

The series acts as inspiration, motivation and access for marginalized artists who otherwise would be little known or invisible on the exhibition scene.

Bernade Flournoy shares the acrylic on canvas Hope For Our Future as part of the Flava Fresh! exhibition.  - COURTESY OF  D. DEL REVERDA-JENNINGS
  • Courtesy of D. Del Reverda-Jennings
  • Bernade Flournoy shares the acrylic on canvas Hope For Our Future as part of the Flava Fresh! exhibition.

“My mission as the founder and independent curator of Flava Fresh! is to cultivate the aspiring beginner, the unknown creative and assist these emerging artists in their desire to enter the art world,” says Del Reverda-Jennings. “[I want] to help them along in their journey of striving to become a successful artist and not just a‘hobbyist,’ and to help advise or implement their development, growth and facilitate exposure that will help to make a creative individual into a well-rounded visual artist.”

The juried artists create new works (about six to eight pieces from each artist) for 80 percent of the shows in the series. They also learn how to talk about their work and engage with audiences.

Del Reverda-Jennings has also increased her own art footprint, with works in private and corporate collections in the United States and internationally, from Canada to the Caribbean. And her efforts with Flava Fresh! are paying off.

Flava Fresh! artists have received a number of awards, with many exhibiting in museum collections, commercial gallery exhibitions and solo exhibits. Others have had their works featured on popular TV shows, including “Criminal Minds” and “Empire,” and in various media publications.

“The Flava Fresh! series has most definitely produced a bountiful harvest of talent and creativity so far,” she adds.

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