RUTH-ANN THORN PRESENTS A TIMELY AND RELEVANT STORY OF ARTIST AND NEW ORLEANS NATIVE WILLIE BIRCH:
A BLACK ARTIST USING ART AS RESPONSIBILITY.
Willie Birch is an American visual artist who works in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, and sculpture both from and about Afro American Culture and History He was fortunate enough to find not one, but two life callings at a young age. Coming up in New Orleans during the civil rights movement, he discovered his artistic talent just as he was finding a place for himself in the struggle. In this episode, Mr. Birch discusses the many roles he’s played in his life — from activist, to service member, to influential artist.
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Birch’s work has been exhibited across the US, including Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; The McKinney Avenue Contemporary Museum in Dallas; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE; and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; and Sculpture Center, New York City.
Birch has been an artist in residence at RedLine Milwaukee; New Orleans Center for Creative Arts; and Ecole superieure des beaux-arts de Nantes, France; New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation; Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM; Henry Street Settlement, New York; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY.
Birch has served as the James Baldwin Fellow for the United States Artists, and has received the Life Time Achievement Award from the National Conference of Artists (NCA). Birch has received fellowships from The Pollock Krasner Foundation, The Joan Mitchell Foundation, Cue Art Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has received the Governor’s Award from the state of Louisiana and the Mayor’s Arts Award from New Orleans.
Birch’s work appears in several collections, including Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE; Harlem Hospital, New York, NY; Miami-Dade Public Library, Miami, FL; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Microsoft Corporation, Seattle, WA; Mobil Corporation, Fairfax, VA; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Prudential Insurance Company, Newark, NJ; and several private collections.