Yesterday and today have been spectacularly lovely days here in central Ohio. With weather this good, one might wonder how anyone could be feeling down. Unfortunately, weather’s beauty doesn’t cure depression. Sometimes, ironically, gorgeous settings can leave one feeling even worse, unable to engage in what others enjoy.
Depression, even light depression, touches many. The pandemic escalated and increased our feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, and frustration. Changes in appetite, energy and activity levels have been common. Others have struggled with difficulty concentrating and making decisions, still others with sleeping or headaches.
In the creation of her collection called A Letter to Myself, artist and Broad Streeter Queen Brooks acknowledges the pandemic’s toll in her life – the isolation, loneliness and her struggle with self-worth. Queen shares her journey through paintings, drawings and mixed media. The process of creation lifted her from hopelessness and brought her purpose and renewal. She says, “As long as I can be a blessing to another person through my art – my way of communicating—I am supposed to be here.”
THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY FACULTY CLUB
A Letter to Myself
Paintings, Mixed Media Art and Assemblages by Queen Brooks
June 1, 2021 – September 3, 2021
Columbus artist Queen Brooks will present a collection of new works titled A Letter to Myself at The Ohio State University Faculty Club. The solo exhibition will be on display from June 1 through September 3, 2021. Exhibited works include paintings, drawings and mixed media assemblages. Patrons may view the exhibition in person during the Faculty Club’s regular business hours and by appointment. We regret that there will be no in-person opening reception due to Covid-19 restrictions; however, we are happy to schedule appointments and private viewings if you are unable to come during business hours.
The exhibition title, A Letter to Myself, came about from Queen’s frustrations and fears working through the Pandemic and hopelessness associated with George Floyd’s and others’ deaths. She admits to struggling through feelings of self-worth, her capabilities as an artist, feelings of mortality, and considerable isolation and loneliness. With her artistic inspirations stalled, apparent Civil Rights eroding and the pandemic looming, Queen became stuck in a spiral of depression, she saw mere shadows of herself, and was, literally, walking in circles. The invitation to do this exhibition motivated and lifted Queen from that space of hopelessness. Ultimately, she began to enjoy the movement of colors and lines, she was encouraged watching her work take shape, and she was renewed knowing that her talents were meant to reflect God’s purpose.
Considered one of Ohio’s best-known African American artists and an elder in the Columbus arts community, Queen was nurtured as an artist by a tight-knit group of influential Black Columbus-area artists, which included Bill Agnew, nationally famed woodcarver Elijah Pierce, outsider artist “Grandpa Smoky” Brown, and MacArthur Fellow Aminah Robinson. Queen counts as her own personal mentors photographer Kojo Kamau and mixed-media artist Barbara Chavous. Queen now serves as a mentor to numerous young artists coming up in Columbus.
Queen Brooks is a graduate of Columbus’s East High School and of The Ohio State University, where she earned both Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts degrees. Her art is among collections at Columbus Museum of Art, The King Arts Complex, Otterbein and Ohio Dominican Universities, the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center at Wilberforce University, in public murals and open spaces throughout Columbus, Ohio and is in private collections throughout the country and in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa. Queen has been bestowed many honors in recognition of her artistic talents including the Lila Wallace, Reader’s Digest International Artist Award, the Ohioana Career Award (the highest honor given to an Ohio artist), the Excellence in Arts Award from The Ohio State University, the South Side Settlement Arts Freedom Award and the Arts Midwest National Endowment of the Arts Award and her work has been featured in Essence Magazine and the International Review of African-American Art. Queen has served as adjunct professor in art instruction at Otterbein University and Ohio Dominican University and now works independently from her home studio.
In accordance with The Ohio State University Heath Protocols masks are required for entry into the building and social distancing will be maintained at all times while in the building and outside adjacent to the building. Entry will be through the main front entrance facing the Oval and exit will be through the east side entrance across from Orton Hall. If visitors require use of the accessible entry, of course, they may enter and exit through the building’s east side accessible doors. Visitors may view the art during regular business hours. If patrons would prefer to schedule an appointment at a time other than regular business hours, they may contact Lisa Craig Morton, Art Coordinator, at 614-309-0191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Established in 1923, The Ohio State University Faculty Club is located at 181 South Oval Drive on the Columbus campus of the university. The art exhibition program features the work of selected Ohio State University faculty, staff, students, alumni and other artists with connections to the university. Exhibitions are held throughout the year. All exhibitions are free and open to the public and are on view during the Club’s regular business hours. For more information, please call the Faculty Club at 614-292-2262 or Art Coordinator Lisa Craig Morton at 614-309-0191. For images of Queen Brooks’ artwork featured in the current exhibition or a photo of the artist, please contact email@example.com.
Her solo exhibition can be viewed through September 3rd at the Ohio State University Faculty Club, at no cost. Click here for more details.
-Written by Ann Palmerton