River Jukes-Hudson
River Jukes-Hudson's African American History Month poster series on view at South Campus.

feature / faculty / graphic-design
February 28, 2018
By Mike Winder

Poster series pays tribute to African-American artists, educators and authors

The creative citizens among us give birth to the foundation of civilization, but their work does not end there; instead, they also question the very foundations they create. They challenge them, critique them, and even destroy them in order to renew or replace them.

This quote from African-American activist, educator and philanthropist Peggy Cooper Cafritz is just one of several thought-provoking messages currently on display at ArtCenter's South Campus. 

It's part of a grid of posters featuring 35 African-American artists, educators and authors that has been installed on a wall between Room 232 and the temporary South Campus Library in the 950 Building. The project—which remains on view through March 9—was the brainchild of River Jukes-Hudson, an assistant professor in the Graphic Design Department.   

"I regularly attend meetings held by The Antiracist Classroom and the conversations have made a very positive impact on my teaching," says Jukes-Hudson, referring to a student-led organization at ArtCenter focused on counteracting racism and white supremacy in design education and practice, when asked about the origins of the project. "Founders Lauren Williams, Bianca Nozaki-Nasser and Godiva Reisenbichler have created a supportive community for students and safe space for discussion. I’m moved by their generosity, patience and power."

Inspiration for the installation struck Jukes-Hudson last week. To assemble the work, Jukes-Hudson enlisted the help of three research assistants—alumna Jimena Alessandra Valdivieso (BFA 17 Graphic Design); Stephen Serrato (BFA 05 Graphic Design), assistant professor in the Graduate Graphic Design Department; and artist and curator Marco Rios—who were able to carve out time in their schedule to complete the project in a relatively short period of time. Together, the four of them created a list of African-American artists, educators and authors who "have gone above and beyond in work and life."

"Ninety-eight percent of the individuals are multidisciplinary," says Jukes-Hudson of the list which includes such luminaries as Elizabeth Alexander, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kimberly Drew and Kehinde Wiley. "We made it through 35, but the list is endless."

Jukes-Hudson says she's thankful for Steve Kim, managing director in the Graphic Design Department, for covering the cost of printing, and Dana Walker-Juick, managing director of Public Programs and director of ArtCenter at Night, for letting her use her wall for the installation.

"The posters were a small gesture, something I wanted to do not only for ArtCenter students but also for myself," she says. "I wanted to pay tribute to black excellence. I'm happy we got it done and I hope to expand the project next year."

Student walks past River Jukes-Hudson
A student walks past River Jukes-Hudson's African American History Month poster series.

Following is a complete list of the 35 African American artists/educators/authors that appear in Jukes-Hudson's installation:

A mock-up of River Jukes-Hudson
A mock-up of River Jukes-Hudson's African American History Month poster series. Courtesy of River Jukes-Hudson