Fallen Through The Cracks – Black Artists in History: Valerie Maynard
#FallenThroughTheCracks – Valerie Jean Maynard was born on August 22, 1937, in New York City, NY. She was a sculptor, teacher, printmaker, and designer who addressed themes of social inequality and the civil rights movement. She studied painting and drawing at the Museum of Modern Art, printmaking at the New School for Social Research, and earned a master’s in Art and Sculpture in 1977 at Vermont’s Goddard College.
Maynard taught at the Studio Museum in Harlem, at Howard University, the University of the Virgin Islands, and the Baltimore School for the Arts. She specialized in the preservation and restoration of traditional art by people of color. She re-contextualized motifs from the Middle Passage and the Civil Rights Movement into her work, offering commentary on the struggle of those in the African diaspora to achieve and maintain equal rights. In January 1977, Maynard was part of a contingent of hundreds of African-American artists who represented the North American Zone, exhibiting in FESTAC 77, the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria.
In 2003, Maynard was commissioned to create a series of glass mosaic murals entitled Polyrhythmics of Consciousness and Light which is permanently installed in the subway station on 125th Street in New York City. In 2021, she received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Valerie Maynard died on September 19, 2022, in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 85.
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