On April 13, 2021, episode four of our ExhiBits series welcomed Rochester artist Brittany Williams. Brittany was commissioned to paint three murals on paper for the exhibition, We Want More and We Will Have It: Women Running Rochester in 2020. Brittany was joined by Miranda Mims, the Joseph N. Lambert and Harold B. Schleifer Director of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation to talk about her work and her experiences as a local artist, and to give some insights into the three pieces she painted, which are now part of RBSCP’s permanent collection.
Brittany’s art focuses on the lived experiences of her surroundings. She has had her work shown in public spaces, companies, editorial publications, and galleries. She uses subject matter such as everyday people, patterns and a vivid color palette, reflecting on situations that are ever present around her. Her art was a perfect addition to the exhibition, which provides a glimpse forward, and into the face of our community and our shared future, in addition to exploring Rochester’s past. It was a unique pleasure to have Brittany join us.
The conversation between Brittany and Miranda, while only 30 minutes, gave a great deal of insight into Brittany’s work and experience. The captioned video can be viewed here.
Miranda posed several insightful questions about Brittany’s work and her process. Below is the extended Q&A, which includes two questions for Brittany and one that Brittany posed to Miranda.
“As time passes and your view of the future changes, do you see yourself ever going back and re-envisioning the women in profile looking ahead? "
BW: “Absolutely! Especially in the time we live in now. From body image, sports, fashion, beauty industry, etc, you have women who are taking charge and trying to make change for other women and girls coming behind them. We're just getting started.”
“Could you talk about your Wall Therapy mural?”
BW: “I've done two murals with Wall Therapy. My first mural with them was 2015. That was the same year I learned how to paint, so I was a bit intimidated by the size of the wall. The mural was about continuing to bloom and grow despite your circumstances. In 2016, I did another mural for Wall Therapy in Berlin. It was me and seven other artists who've been a part of Wall Therapy in previous years. The mural I did was an extension of my "Blooming Mind" series. The mural is no longer there, but I'll never forget that experience. That's when I took art as a career seriously.”
“Does RBSCP plan to work with artists on projects like this in the future?
MM: “Yes. Our hope is to continue expanding how we partner with people who are producing works today so that our archives reflect the many different facets of the current culture. We are interested in being more proactive in these endeavors and look forward to future partnerships.”
To see some of Brittany’s work in Rochester, there are murals at 488 Joseph Avenue, at Rocky's Pizza on 810 Genesee St.; and at the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence on 929 Plymouth Avenue South in the city.
You can follow Brittany on Instagram using @bwilliamsart and to visit her website visit https://brittany-williams.com/
The events will be recorded and made accessible here just before the next live event in the series.
January 12, 2021, 3:30-4:00 PM. Here’s Some More: A Virtual Tour of the digital exhibit, “We Want More and We Will Have It: Women Running Rochester"
February 9, 2021, 3:30-4:00 PM. “Women Giving Back: Three Generations of Rochester Giving in the Sibley Family” with special guest Marjorie Searl
March 9, 2021, 3:30-4:00 PM. “It’s Earlier Than You Think: Women at the University of Rochester, 1875-1925,” with Melissa Mead, John M. and Barbara Keil University Archivist and Rochester Collections Librarian
April 13, 2021, 3:30-4:00 PM. “Voices for Today and Tomorrow: The Murals of Brittany Williams” with special guest, artist, and activist, Brittany Williams.
May 11, 2021, 3:30-4:00 PM. “Organize, Agitate, Participate: Meet Ruth Scott through her Papers”, with special guest, author, politician, and activist, Ruth Scott.
June 8, 2021, 3:30-4:00 PM. “A Single Item Tells a Story: Creating a Stir with Suffrage Cookbooks,” with Autumn Haag.