“Drawn to Art” Is a Collaboration With Ringling College of Art and Design
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has published online a second set of 10 short comics each celebrating a woman artist with artwork represented in the museum’s permanent collection. The trailblazing artists, featured in the 2022 set “Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists,” are Judy Baca, Tiffany Chung, Sonya Clark, Sarah Goodridge, Ester Hernandez, Loïs Mailou Jones, Nellie Mae Rowe, Augusta Savage, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation) and Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee Nation).
Inspired by graphic novels and web comics, these short takes on artists’ lives were drawn by 10 student-illustrators from the Ringling College of Art and Design. The participating illustrators are Stephanie Bravo, Rebe Chen, Micah Eubanks, Elisia Fernandez, Aleyah Lyon, Susie O’Connor, Abigail Rajunov, Oliver Stephenson, Maddy Williams-Solberg and Madi Wong.
A goal of the project is to provide middle school-age readers, and art lovers of any age, with a beautifully illustrated and age-appropriate opportunity to identify with the struggles and triumphs of artists, to see themselves reflected and to draw strength from that visibility. “Drawn to Art” supports the museum’s commitment to educational opportunities by providing valuable professional experience for Ringling student artists who learn to work collaboratively, meet deadlines and address formatting and accessibility requirements.
“I am delighted to see this second set of SAAM’s ‘Drawn to Art’ comics come to life,” said Stephanie Stebich, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “This innovative project provides yet another avenue for young people, or anyone interested in artists and their stories, to be introduced to the museum’s rich collection and discover the power of art.”
The digital-first series debuted in 2021. It featured the stories of Berenice Abbott, Anni Albers, Romaine Brooks, Maria Oakey Dewing, Carmen Herrera, Corita Kent, Edmonia Lewis, Kay Sekimachi, Alma Thomas and Mickalene Thomas. All 20 comics can be seen on the museum’s website.
“Drawn to Art” is a collaboration with Ringling College’s INDEX (Industry Experience) program. INDEX is an experiential education initiative that provides students with professional experience prior to graduation by connecting them with leading brands and clients to develop creative solutions to business challenges. The 10 winning students were chosen from 39 illustration students that entered the INDEX competition.
“The partnership between Ringling College and the Smithsonian American Art Museum exemplifies the reason we began INDEX—to integrate experiential learning into academics and student life as one of the three pillars of collegiate and future success,” said Jeff Schwartz, associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of undergraduate studies at the Ringling College of Art and Design. “SAAM staff provided an experience far beyond simple mentorship as they educated our students on building a compelling story around each of these historically significant artists. The opportunity to work with the Smithsonian American Art Museum to delve into the lives of underrepresented fellow artists and bring their stories to life is a portfolio- and career-building experience of the highest order.”