I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, when Motown lingered in the air like freshly baked bread. The creative spirit was everywhere, and certainly influenced my decision to carve out a life in the arts. I began painting in high school, studied at Wayne State University and Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, then moved to New York where I would begin a pioneering business in artisan jewelry design. Working with showroom representatives in New York, Chicago, and Texas, I developed a small staff and manufactured jewelry for specialty shops and department stores throughout the country. After a decade of sixteen-hour jewelry-making days, I discovered fulfillment as an art instructor, curator, and arts administrator working in the non-profit sector and for independent galleries and universities. Since 2002, I have served Tri-State New York communities in this capacity: Presenting exhibitions and selling art; helping emerging artists develop professional skills; managing artistic staff; and developing programs for schools, arts organizations, and at-risk and general youth communities. As a visual artist, I have exhibited my own paintings throughout New York and Detroit, and received artistic awards from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Puffin Foundation, and Harlem Arts Alliance.
Throughout all, I raised two wonderful, creative children into young adults - navigating urban life as a single parent. I still create jewelry for the Studio Museum in Harlem and occasional special events. Most importantly, I look forward to sharing a wealth of warmth, knowledge, and experiences with my hometown, Detroit, and its artistic communities.
My aunt and teammate, Valerie Irwin, is a vivacious senior and retired Detroit Public Schools special education teacher. She is a pillar in the community and a tireless business administrator. Along with her late husband, Valerie has historically helped to encourage and support minority-owned ventures in Detroit.