Introducing NE Brown, Arcadia Public Art Project’s 2023-24 Resident Artist

By Ryan Hiemenz | November 6, 2023
Artwork by NE Brown.
Bend before You Break, 2022, Walnut wood, Walnut petals painted in milk paint, ¾ in. X 1 1/8 in. X 5 1/8 in.

NE Brown, current visiting professor of painting at the University of Pittsburgh, has been selected as the Arcadia Public Art Project (APAP)’s 2023-24 Resident Artist. The 2023-24 APAP coordination team includes adjunct professors of Visual and Performing Arts Maryann Worrell ’05 and Krista Profitt ’11, and alumna Sydney Welch ’20, with support from professor of Visual and Performing Arts, Abbey Ryan ’03. Long-time support has also been provided by David Guinn.

During her time with Arcadia, Brown is interested in working with students and the Glenside community “to create public artwork that brings forth histories often left outside of the mainstream canon and contribute to the dialogue and culture of the Glenside community as a whole.”

Artwork by NE Brown.
Sue, 2021, Padauk wood, Mother-of-pearl, Torch, Wood burner 48 1/8 in. X 31 ½ in. X ¾ in.

The Arcadia Public Art Project apprenticeship, now in its 8th year, is a cross-disciplinary, social entrepreneurship, community-building opportunity that gives Arcadia students a chance to study with a lead resident artist. The course, FA378.1 is a 2-credit, semester-long Arcadia Public Art Project apprenticeship that focuses on public spaces in and around the Arcadia community and Glenside, creating a unique collection of artwork that enhances our shared public space through mission-driven collaboration.

Students work alongside the resident artist to learn about the value, purpose, and impact of public art in the community, as well as the process of making a work of public art. The course offers a complete hands-on experience, from visioning a project purpose and mission to engaging with Glenside community members, presenting design concepts, and contributing to the implementation of a work of public art.

The apprenticeship cohort, typically limited to 8-12 students, attracts students from all majors and no prior art studio or art history experience is necessary. Students can apply here. APAP is supported by the Office of the Provost, College of Arts and Sciences, and Department of Art and Design. You can also follow Arcadia Public Art Project on Instagram and view past projects here.

Artwork by NE Brown.
Mother and Children, 2021, Maple wood, Wood burner, Metallic paint (on the sides) 8 ½ in. X 10 ¾ in. X 1 ¾ in.

Brown is a visual artist and scholar whose practice is immersed in the study of art histories, material cultures, and the craft of painting, drawing and woodworking. A maker and artist for over 20 years, Brown’s professional career reflects her love for the arts, passion for histories left outside of the mainstream canon, and dedication to see a more equitable world. 

Her graduate career encompassed studying subjects such as African American material culture, woodworking, and printmaking. 

“It is through making and objects that narratives can be seen, felt, and shared,” said Brown. 

Brown received a BFA in Painting and Drawing from Tyler School of Art: Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, where she studied abroad for a year in Rome, Italy. 

“Rome not only gave me the experience of physically seeing, drawing, and listening to stories behind masterpieces, it also gave me an awareness of what narratives and artworks were missing from my education,” said Brown.

Artwork by NE Brown.
Large Wooden Spoon, 2018, Hackberry wood, Maple wood, Resin 16 5/8 in. X 31 in. X 108 in.

Brown earned an MFA from the University of Iowa in Painting and Drawing, with a minor in printmaking (lithography), and an MA in Painting and Drawing, with a minor in sculpture, primarily woodworking. She then completed additional studies at Penland School of Craft in Penland, NC., the Westervelt Program at Berea College in Berea, KY., a miniature painting study with Aisha Khalid at the Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg, Austria, and a Philadelphia Furniture Workshop. 

Artwork by NE Brown.
Spoonerific, 2018, Oil paint on panel, Cherry wood frame, Ash and Cherry wood lamination 12 ¼ in. X 18 ¼ in. 1 ¼ in.

Brown’s work is in the Colored Girls Museum Collection, Philadelphia, Pa.; the Lewis Tanner Moore Collection, Bucks County, Pa.; and the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection, Asbury, N.J.. Her exhibitions include the African American Museum of Philadelphia, the Portland Art Museum, the Colored Girls Museum in Philadelphia, Pa., the Widener University Museum in Chester, Pa., the Abington Art Center in Abington, Pa., Freeport Art Museum in Freeport, Il., and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Artwork by NE Brown.
Meet, Talk, Organize, Protest, VOTE!, 2022, Oil on panel 35 in. X 48 in. X 2 in.

In 2022, Brown received the Craft Archive Research Fellowship from the Center for Craft in Asheville, N.C. to research the history of Black craft at Berea College and Lincoln Institute. Through Berea College’s Special Collections and Archive, she researched the rich history of craft at Berea and Lincoln. Through working with her research partner, Dr. E. Gale Greenlee, to discover the amazing story of Black ingenuity, resilience, and craft at Lincoln, she published the article titled “Kentucky’s Black Craft Trail and the Unequal Path from Berea College to Lincoln Institute.” 

Artwork by NE Brown.
Ascension, 2022, Charcoal, Graphite, Canvas 112 in. X 78 in. X 3 ½ in.

Other recent awards, grants, and residencies include but are not limited to: Artist-In-Residence, bell hooks Center, Berea, Ky. in 2023; Schooner Scholarship, Schooner Foundation and Furniture Society, Seattle, Wa. in 2022; Creative Development Award, Heinz Endowments, Pittsburgh, Pa. in 2021; Artist-In-Residence, Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, Pa. in 2021-22; and Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Grant, Pittsburgh Foundation and Heinz Endowments, Pittsburgh, Pa in 2021.

Learn more about Brown and her artwork pictured above, and view more of her work here.