Shazzi Thomas, Artist and Curator of Cultivate Your Own Garden
Cultivate Your Own Garden, curated by Patricia Spergel and Shazzi Thomas, brings together artists whose artwork references gardens and landscape in different ways, such as traditional observational paintings, works that incorporate subtle political commentary or paintings that lean toward abstraction. All have one thing in common – an immense passion for both nature and paint that they aim to share through their art works.
Early Life and Education
Thomas moved with her family following the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot, to Washington DC – still segregated but offering better educational opportunities for Black students – for its segregated environment but better educational opportunities for Black students. Washington’s parks filled with crepe myrtles and holly trees inspired her paintings.
Thomas used her career in teaching to support herself while honing her art. She initiated enrichment programs for her students such as art clubs and lectures; James V. Herring at Howard University encouraged her to experiment with abstraction.
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Shazzi Thomas serves on the Board of Directors at The Painting Center and Drawing Rooms and as Co-President at Drawing Rooms as well as being an Associate Director with Michelman Fine Art. Her abstract paintings can be seen exhibited at Longwood Art Gallery, Broome Street Gallery, Eleven Ten Gallery and Brooklyn Artists Gym – these galleries showcase her artwork which explores how design and chaos coexist within our internal and external worlds.
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Achievement and Honors
Shazzi Thomas has enjoyed a distinguished career as both an artist and educator, both exhibiting her works and curating many exhibitions. Additionally, she serves on The Drawing Rooms Board of Directors and directs The Painting Center in New York City; also serving as juror for Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and Golden Educator Residency juries and being an alumni of Howard University.
Shazi Thomas serves on the board of directors for The Drawing Rooms and as Director of The Painting Center in New York.
Thomas is best known for her painting, yet is an accomplished multidisciplinary artist specializing in various mediums – collage, sculpture and even rec-room recreations that recall her ’70s-era New Jersey childhood recreation rooms. Thomas also designed Solange’s album cover True in 2013.
Thomas counts four muses among her inspirations for her creative process: Maya (former love interest); Racquel Chevremont (current partner); Sandra ‘Mama” Bush (deceased mother); and herself.
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Thomas has made her mark and amassed wealth through acting. Her appearance on Kids Say the Darndest Things cemented her reputation, while guest star appearances in City Guys, Family Law and ER further established it. Additionally, Thomas has done extensive philanthropic work for various causes as well as book publishing houses, scholars, soap opera fans and movie fans who admire her talent.