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The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery Announces a New Digital Comic Series

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery has announced a new digital comic series, Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists.

The series looks at visionaries and rule breakers: Alma Thomas, Berenice Abbott, Carmen Herrera, Kay Sekimachi, Mickalene Thomas, Corita Kent, Maria Oakey Dewing, Anni Albers, Edmonia Lewis, and Romaine Brooks.

The digital comics will focus on the lives of these important women with the hopes of inspiring a new generation. Each comic will be drawn by a student-illustrator at the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Read the comics now and check out the each below.

BENEATH THE HOLLY TREE: A COMIC ABOUT ALMA THOMAS

Illustrated by Lauren Lamb

Alma Thomas became the first woman to graduate from the art department at Howard University, as well as one of the first Black women to receive a degree in art. Her exuberant, colorful paintings explore the natural world around us, from garden to galaxy.

BENEATH THE HOLLY TREE: A COMIC ABOUT ALMA THOMAS

THREADS OF HISTORY: A COMIC ABOUT ANNI ALBERS

Illustrated by Emily Fromhage

Anni Albers studied art at the innovative Bauhaus, where she discovered weaving. She fled Nazi Germany and became an influential teacher at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

THREADS OF HISTORY: A COMIC ABOUT ANNI ALBERS

PICTURING A CITY: A COMIC ABOUT BERENICE ABBOTT

Illustrated by Madeline Kneubheul

Born in 1898, Berenice Abbott discovered her gift for photography in Paris. When she returned home, she created iconic portraits of buildings and people in New York City, images that still move us to this day.

PICTURING A CITY: A COMIC ABOUT BERENICE ABBOTT

IN AWE OF THE STRAIGHT LINE: A COMIC ABOUT CARMEN HERRERA

Illustrated by Ezra Gaeta

Carmen Herrera was born in Havana, Cuba, then lived in Paris before moving to New York City in 1952. She faced discrimination in the art world for being an immigrant and a woman and only found success late in life for her minimal, beautiful works.

IN AWE OF THE STRAIGHT LINE: A COMIC ABOUT CARMEN HERRERA

A LIFE IN COLOR: A COMIC ABOUT CORITA KENT

Illustrated by Mica Borovinsky

Corita Kent joined a religious order after high school and became fascinated with screen printing. She would go on to be described as “the pop art nun who combined the sensibility of Andy Warhol with social justice,” and helped to bring a little more color to the world.

A LIFE IN COLOR: A COMIC ABOUT CORITA KENT

BREAKING THE MARBLE CEILING: A COMIC ABOUT EDMONIA LEWIS

Illustrated by Rachel Bivens

The daughter of a Haitian father and an Ojibwe mother Lewis overcame many obstacles before finding success as a sculptor in Rome, where her fame brought countless visitors to her studio.

BREAKING THE MARBLE CEILING: A COMIC ABOUT EDMONIA LEWIS

THE WEAVER’S WEAVER: A COMIC ABOUT KAY SEKIMACHI

Illustrated by Emily Ehlen

Kay Sekimachi and her family were forced into a Japanese incarceration camp during WWII. There, she spent her time making art. After the war, she discovered weaving and her innovative practices and mastery of techniques earned her the sobriquet “the Weaver’s Weaver.”

THE WEAVER'S WEAVER: A COMIC ABOUT KAY SEKIMACHI

A GARDEN-THIRSTY SOUL: A COMIC ABOUT MARIA OAKEY DEWING

Illustrated by Kippy Sage

Born in 1845, the American painter known for her depiction of flowers described herself as a “Garden-Thirsty Soul.” Her promising career was overshadowed by her marriage to a more famous artist. Her artworks remain unsurpassed in celebrating the beauty of the natural world.

A GARDEN-THIRSTY SOUL: A COMIC ABOUT MARIA OAKEY DEWING

PORTRAIT: A COMIC ABOUT MICKALENE THOMAS

Illustrated by Shayna Cohen

When contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas was in art school, she couldn’t afford traditional materials and gravitated towards craft stores and the glitter and rhinestones within. Her paintings speak to female empowerment and of women of color owning and defining their own spaces.

PORTRAIT: A COMIC ABOUT MICKALENE THOMAS

DO YOU THINK I’M HIDING? A COMIC ABOUT ROMAINE BROOKS

Illustrated by Abigail Rajunov

Romaine Brooks suffered an abusive childhood but triumphed as an adult, embracing gender fluidity and her queer identity. Her fierce independence is inspiring to people today.

DO YOU THINK I'M HIDING? A COMIC ABOUT ROMAINE BROOKS
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