Cody Gallery Presents: Dave Eassa and Thomas James in Conversation
Thursday, March 31 • 6-7pm
@ Cody Gallery
On the occasion of his solo-exhibition at Cody Gallery, Dave Eassa speaks with Curator Thomas James about their respective cultural practices and intersections with community building and artistic production. The conversation will explore the evolution of Eassa’s artistic practice and the journey toward his current exhibition as well as James’ role in facilitating artist production and relationships.
About the Speakers:
Dave Eassa (b. 1991) is a visual artist and cultural worker living and working in Baltimore, MD. His paintings and sculpture allow the viewer space for personal reflection and encourage a broader look outward at the shared human experience. He has exhibited nationally in solo and group exhibitions at institutions and galleries including The Shed Space in Baltimore, MD and SPACE Gallery Portland, ME, Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA, Good Mother Gallery, Oakland, CA, Signal, Brooklyn, NY, LVL3 Chicago, IL, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY, and Reh Kunst, Berlin, Germany among others. His work has been published in New American Paintings and The Pinch Journal. He has been awarded grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and was Rubys Artist Grantee, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation in 2021. His public sculpture is on view in Johnson City, Tennessee, as well as the Coldstream Homestead Montebello Sculpture Park and the Harwood Community Garden, both in Baltimore, MD. He has been an artist in residence at Space Gallery in Portland, ME and ACRE in Steuben, WI and most recently was an artist in residence at 7Hills in Amman, Jordan during the summer of 2021.
He was an Open Society Institute Baltimore Community Fellow from 2015 through 2017 where he founded Free Space, a program which brings the arts to the Maryland Prison system, teaching art to men and women’s correctional facilities. He has received grants from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, the Contemporary, the Gutierrez Memorial Fund, and the Maryland State Arts Council to support Free Space. He serves on the Board of Advisors for Baltimore Youth Arts, and the Programs Committee for the Baltimore Museum of Industry. He currently is the Director of Public Engagement at the Baltimore Museum of Art working on a range of initiatives that challenge and question what it means to be a museum in present day Baltimore. Through this he established the BMA Lexington Market, a branch of the Baltimore Museum of Art in Lexington Market, the nation’s oldest continuously operating public market. In 2018, he was selected as one of 50 Young Cultural Innovators from across the globe for the YCI Fellowship at the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria. Over the last year, he has been serving as a Salzburg Global Fellow as part of the recently launched Global Innovations on Youth Violence, Safety, and Justice cross-national collaboration.
Thomas F. James (b. 1994) is a Washington, DC born, Prince George’s County, MD raised curator currently based in Baltimore, MD. The focal aspect of his work is to communicate ideas through exhibitions focusing on storytelling. By approaching his curatorial practice as a narrator, he is able to emphasize the cultural backgrounds and nuances within artists’ works. This is done in the hopes to provide viewers with more context and a holistic scope of what artists are presenting. He finds storytelling imperative to communicating grander concepts that create approachable, intellectual conversations.
From 2018-2022 Thomas ran 2 galleries in Baltimore, MD – Creative Alliance and Eubie Blake Cultural Center. He is now the Executive Director of The Last Resort Artist Retreat, as well as continuing his curatorial practice and serving on various boards and projects for different sectors of the arts ecosystem.
James received his Bachelor’s degree from Frostburg State University. He has guest curated numerous exhibitions at institutions including The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Band of Vice Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; George Washington University’s ArtReach Gallery, Washington, DC; Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD; and Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD. He has been a lead facilitator and/or panelist at institutions including Joshua Johnson Council, Baltimore Museum of Art, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Bloomberg Arts. He has served as a guest juror and/or critic at institutions including B&O Railroad Museum, Maryland Institute College of Art, University of Maryland College Park, Maryland Federation of Art, Residency Unlimited, VisArts, Goucher College, and Towson University. James has spearheaded special projects with organizations such as Vans, Kaiser Permanente, and Munger, Tolles & Olsen LLP.