Thirty: 30 Creative Minds Under 30 Series at MAP: Ashley Minner

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According to MICA, “Ashley Minner, who completed her BFA in General Fine Arts in 2005, her MA in Community Arts in 2007. and her MFA in Community Arts in 2011, was born and raised in Baltimore. A member of the Lumbee Tribe, she has been active in the Baltimore Lumbee community for many years and sought to bring art to the Native American community she grew up in. She did so by creating The Native American After School Art Program (NAASAP), which she currently directs. The program uses art as a vehicle for Lumbee Indian youth to address issues that matter to them.”

Minner has been selected to participate in a brand new speaker series at Maryland Art Place called THIRTY: 30 Creative Minds Under 30 that features three speakers on a monthly basis throughout the year. It is an opportunity for young artists to share their ideas with a wider audience and a chance for Baltimore’s art community to get to know the next generation of artists.

The Exquisite Lumbee Portrait Series

Bmoreart: Sometimes, it seems that the art world emphasizes youth and is enamored with the ‘next best thing.’ Is right now a good time to be an artist ‘under 30’? Which seems to be a better position to work from – being an artist over or under 30 and why?

Ashley Minner: It seems to be a good time to be an artist ‘under 30.’ I haven’t yet been an artist over 30, so I couldn’t genuinely speak to which is a better position. I have learned that my youth can be both an advantage and a disadvantage in the field, and that it’s beneficial to be able to adapt to different situations, amongst them changing times.

B: How old are you and where do you live?

AM: I am 29 years old and I live in Dundalk.

The Exquisite Lumbee Portrait Series

B: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work.

AM: In my artwork and in my life’s work, I am most inspired by the beauty of people. I try to show them in ways that are both honest and in a manner that they want to be seen, with honor and respect.

I am interested in making obvious the divinity in people as well as the inherent fact that We Are All Related. Those who are enabled to recognize the divinity in themselves, value themselves. Those who are enabled to recognize the divinity in others across race, class and other divisive factors, gain a sense of interconnectedness and even love for their fellow human beings. In this way, for me, Art is tool and a catalyst for healing, reconciliation, and social justice.

I am interested in stories, songs, families, histories, travels, traditions, dreams, resourcefulness during hard times and everyone’s expertise on their own life.

I make artists books, prints, mixed-media drawings and occasionally fiber pieces. My work is often collaborative in nature. It usually includes hand-written musings about life, life situations and the hilarity of the human condition.

The Exquisite Lumbee Portrait Series

B: Why did you want to give an artist talk at MAP? What do you plan to discuss? 

AM: I was invited to participate in THIRTY by a good friend of mine who was also one of the organizers of the event, Michelle Gomez. Michelle expressed that she wanted to make sure that Community and “Socially Engaged” Artists were represented amongst the Thirty. I agreed that this is important. I’ll be discussing the content of my work, my media and process, my purpose for making it. I’ll focus on one or two recent projects which were done in collaboration with the Lumbee community of Southeast Baltimore. Then I’ll show some more recent work that was done in Panama and has been part of my ongoing research of the African and Indigenous Diasporas. I have given many artists talks in a variety of settings in Baltimore and across the country, including college classrooms, Arts Integration Conferences, Artist Retreats and Professional Development Workshops, Funders Meetings, etc.

The Exquisite Lumbee Portrait Series

B: As a visual artist, why are speaking opportunities valuable? What does speaking professionally about your artwork add to your practice?

AM: I believe that speaking opportunities are especially telling of the artists’ process in that most times visual art is left to speak for itself… it exists independent of its maker in the world and the audience is left to draw what conclusion it may. Knowledge of an artists’ process helps to demystify the art and it’s also helpful to other artists in their own work. Speaking professionally about your artwork is extremely important in seeking funding, building relationships to benefit your practice and even in self-examination. What have you accomplished? Did you do what you set out to do? In what direction are you heading as an artist?

The Exquisite Lumbee Portrait Series
The Exquisite Lumbee Portrait Series
The Exquisite Lumbee Portrait Series


THIRTY: 30 Creative Minds Under 30 kicks off Wednesday, March 27th, 6pm at Maryland Art Place

THIRTY is a series of monthly talks featuring thirty emerging Baltimore artists under the age of thirty. All of the participants use a diverse range of creative practices, from visual art to performance, curatorial, community art, design, film, photography and technology to create visual experiences. Participants of THIRTY were selected by the THIRTY committee and MAP staff through either open call or by invitation.

Talks on March 27, 2013 will feature Emily C-D, Mia Weiner, and Ashley Minner

To see more of Ashley’s work go to her website here.


“The Exquisite Lumbee” Portrait Series “Tonto” Ashley Minner, Text by Dean Tonto Cox Sr. Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt, 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010

“The Exquisite Lumbee” Portrait Series “Jeremy” Ashley Minner, Text by Jeremy Larue Locklear, Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt, 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010

“The Exquisite Lumbee” Portrait Series “Tonya” Ashley Minner, Text by Tonya Gail Oxendine, Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt, 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010

“Gustavo, Moderno Rey Cimarron Congo” Text by Gustavo Esquina de la Espada, Charcoal Pencil and Acrylic Paint on Rives BFK, 30 x 22 1/4“ 2012

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