Hello! As you may or may not know, my name is Ciarra K. Walters. I am a multidisciplinary artist based in Prince George's County, Maryland, formally based in Los Angeles!
After years of denial, I finally did the thing I was scared to do: apply to graduate school for my Master's in Fine Arts. Over the years I have endlessly sought out art and created my own education through countless museum, gallery, and art fair trips throughout the country and overseas. In my journey in the arts, I have taken what I learned and created resources for my community to not only learn but fall in love with the arts and understand its importance in our day to day.
Months before my mother passed away I said to her, "I decided I am going to get my Master's in Fine Art." My mother's face lit up and I remember how proud she looked. Fast forward months later, I almost didn't apply to any schools. After her passing, she left me in the possession of her home in Maryland and her two youngest children, my teenage sisters. (Two huge reasons I had to leave LA). I remember thinking that my transition back east and being the guardian of my sisters was enough to keep me busy. I didn't have space to think about what I wanted, that could wait... but I knew my mother would have never wanted me to wait for something I really wanted. And to my surprise, I would be accepted into grad school one year after telling my mother my plans to return to school.
I was a late bloomer in the art scene. I did not grow up understanding the importance of art and the healing capabilities it has by creating and seeing it. It wasn't until 2016 that I saw people that looked like me or had a story like mine on the walls of museums. The lack of Black and brown people in these art institutions (on the walls, in attendance, and working behind the scenes) was shocking and upsetting. Feeling like I had been denied the knowledge of art, I decided to use my platform not only to discuss the issues of the art world but to share what I knew in hopes that it would influence more people of color to create, see, share, and talk about art.
Since 2019 I have been actively talking about art on my Instagram and website, sharing shows to see, exhibition highlights + reviews, art video playlists, curated online exhibitions, art talks, art books, and my thoughts on artworks and artists. In 2020 I created An Artletter, a newsletter designed to educate and promote the arts in a cool and digestible way for free. Two years later, I am proud to say that An Artletter has evolved into a community with over 700 members!!!
Earlier in 2022, I received the opportunity to teach elementary students in PG County about character development where I turned the lesson plans into an art-related course in the afterschool program, Youth Now! Over the summer I was granted the opportunity to teach middle schoolers a class called, "Middle School Success," where I taught them how to be successful in and out of the classroom through emotional intelligence, study skills, and of course, art and creativity.
And in March 2022 I was accepted into the graduate program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland in the two-year program, Photography and Media + Society under Bill Gaskins. I was awarded almost $43,000 in scholarships for the 2022-2023 school year. The first would be a Merit Scholarship from MICA, followed by The Leslie King-Hammond Fellowship. By late July I was selected for the AIGA Worldstudio Scholarship awarding me two scholarships: Richard and Jean Coyne Family Foundation Award and AIGA DC Design Continuum Fund Award.
I am now asking to be granted the most important scholarship of them all, a Community Scholarship, for the remainder of my tuition, $11,200 (and then some). A scholarship that is backed and funded by the people who have been following my career as an artist and art educator through the years.
It is an artist's responsibility to show people what they cannot see. Artists must use their art to not only speak to the times but to push and promote creativity and consciousness in the people through honest and culturally impactful work and resources. I hope that my art and the resources I have created have done that for you all and I promise I will continue to do that.
I am committed to sharing my knowledge about the arts and using my resources to educate, uplift, and unite my communities. I am in graduate school for two reasons: to elevate my art practice and to discover, use, and share the resources offered to me as a graduate student. Knowledge is the path to freedom and that does not have to start or stop in the classroom. It starts and stops with us.
Your support will not only pay for the remainder of my tuition for the 2022-2023 school year, but it will also provide financial support for my art supplies, transportation (gas money), art books, and other miscellaneous fees from MICA.
I appreciate the support I have been given through the years and the support you all continue to give. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me.
Ciarra K. Walters