Anna Arnold Interview, 29 October 2008

Cleveland portrait artist Anna Arnold discusses her love of drawing and painting as a child, encouragement from her parents and teachers, and her ambitions to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art and become a "famous Cleveland artist." She found inspiration at the Cleveland Museum of Art, especially in the work of the Impressionists. Influential CIA teachers included Mo Brooker, Joseph Cintron, and Van Duser. Arnold discusses the importance of bright colors in her work, and the support of Cleveland Plain Dealer art critic Helen Cullinen, who promoted her work. Arnold mentions other CIA students she knew, Scott Miller, Catherine Butler, George Bows, and David Magana. She admired Andy Warhol and used him as a subject, along with 1960s movie stars. One career highlight was being commissioned to paint portraits of Progressive Insurance Co. founder Peter B. Lewis's family and friends. Other highlights are Guitar Mania, and the Globe at the Cleveland Public Library, which she did with local elementary students. She was always fearful of moving away, but is now attending graduate school Case Western Reserve University and would like to teach art in another country. She describes her work process, the pleasure of collaborative work, and the importance of promoting her art to the public. She explains that she gravitates to bright colors and Caribbean scenes as a reflection of her personality. She also talks about the struggle for female artists to be accepted.

Participants: Arnold, Anna (interviewee) / Busta, William (interviewer)
Collection: Each in Their Own Voice: African American Artists in Cleveland, 1970-2005
Institutional Repository: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

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Each in Their Own Voice: African American Artists in Cleveland, 1970-2005

The first generations of African American artists who were active in the Cleveland region were showcased in the 1993 exhibition Yet Still We Rise: African American Artists in Cleveland 1930-1970. In 2005, a second exhibition was organized by Cleveland Artists Foundation (ARTneo). In addition to gallery shows, this exhibit – titled Each in Their Own Voice: African American Artists in Cleveland, 1970-2005 – documented subsequent generations of African American artists through oral history…