Join us February 24, 2022, from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm for the Open Reception:

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“The arts offer limitless possibilities and freedom of expression, especially during times of stress. Healing occurs, opening a window of hope when we create beauty through making art. The arts support our global efforts to halt the covid pandemic.” -Dr. Marietta Dantonio-Madsen


Artist Statement (How has Covid affected your family and your culture?)

Covid has changed my life in so many ways. Wearing masks and social distancing is just a small portion of changes in my life. The major changes I learned were gratitude and humility. What is gratitude? The definition of gratitude is to be thankful or appreciative. In the past three years, I created a body of work pertaining to gratitude. I learned to be grateful for the good and bad memories in my life. In the rise of the Coronavirus, I slowed down and reflected on my life. I explored my childhood and adult memories and how they shaped my life. I unboxed my memories and addressed certain issues in life. In the past, I did not want to address the memories; because I was ashamed to tell people my stories. I thought people did not want to hear stories about a kid living in housing projects in Philadelphia. I shared my wild stories with my close friends and family; as a result, they encouraged me to share my stories with the world. They felt the stories were funny, unique and relatable and made the artwork stronger. As an experiment, I used social media to test my recent work. I posted new images and added stories to the descriptions. I received many comments from friends, family and strangers on social media. People were engaged with the images and description. I feared people would look at me differently; but the new artwork brought positive reactions and feedback. Covid taught me to appreciate my memories. I learned to cherish the memories and how they shaped my being.


The descriptions of the work

The Ice Cream Man

Mixed Medium

20 x30


I created “The Ice Cream Man” based on my childhood experiences living in Philadelphia. I lived in the Housing Projects and we had access to a metal playground set. We had broken swing sets; but we were happy. I remembered the hot summer months playing on metal slides at the playground. The sun made the metal slides hot and stingy. I burnt myself several times sliding down slides. The highlight of the day was the ice cream man. I heard the music from truck several blocks away. Then, I ran and asked my mother for ice cream money. You had to be quick; because the ice cream truck waited for no one. I ordered my vanilla ice cream/cone with rainbow sprinkles. I sat on the front steps of my apartment building and enjoy my treat. I am blessed and grateful to have experience these moments in my life.


Water Plug Blues

Mixed Medium

18 x24



​”Water Plug Blues” is based upon my childhood experiences living in The Bartram Village Housing Projects in Philadelphia, PA. I played in fire hydrant during the hot summer months. It was so heated and humid, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. We didn’t have access to local swimming pools; as a result, we turn on the fire hydrants to cool down. I remembered taking off my shoes and playing in the water. Playing in the fire hydrant help me to escape my reality for a short time. Everyone came out their apartments and played in streets including the adults. These were good times, and I cherished the memories.

My name is Jamilah Phillips. Junior Social Relations major from New Jersey. Covid has affected my family and culture because due to religious differences and beliefs it has drawn a wedge between my parents.

Our family was seriously affected by Covid. We are a close-knit family so we find ways to celebrate everything. Once lockdown started and we had to socially distance, it became hard for us to get together and share. We lost several family members and not being able to grieve together was the worst part. It was also a financial burden on some of us. The good part is we now really see the value in staying close and how important family really is.

This portrait is of a black woman with long curly hair. The drawing was done with soft pastels on green cold press paper. Using bold colors and strong contrast, the woman’s presence is powerful without her doing anything but being present. She lets her crown of hair fall the way that the universe intended, and her stoic gaze speaks for her: “I am here, and I am not going anywhere.” Her very existence is a direct protest against the societal standards of what is deemed beautiful and proper. As a black woman growing up during the time when natural hair was just starting to become normalized, this is a topic that I am very passionate about. It took me a long time to become fully embrace my own, but it was one of the best decisions I had ever made.


A- From my long-term project “Covid-19 in Black America”, for people able to work remotely the pandemic is in some ways a blessing. They are no longer required to live in the city their job is located. Atlanta Ga. 2021.
B- Environmental portrait of the owner of a barbershop. Philadelphia Pa. 2021.
C- From my long-term project “Covid-19 in Black America”, early spring 2020 man dressed in full pandemic protective clothing at a Covid-19 testing site. Philadelphia Pa. 2020.
D- Environmental portrait session using off camera flash. Hyattsville MD. 2021.
E- From my long-term project “Covid-19 in Black America”, environmental portrait session of Cheyney University student using off camera flash. West Chester Pa 2022.
F- From my long-term project “Covid-19 in Black America”, environmental portrait session of Cheyney University student. I made the decision to create the image having him stand with his hands placed of the glass door to create a more impactful image. West Chester Pa. 2022.
G- Studio portrait session at my studio using off camera flash. The red cloth she is wrapped in is actually her
sweater, I asked her to cover a portion of her head and shoulders to create a more regal look. Philadelphia Pa. 2021.
H- Environmental portrait session from my long term project “ONYX”, using off camera flash. Philadelphia Pa. 2021.
I- Environmental portrait session using off camera flash. Hyattsville MD. 2021.
J- Documentary photograph during “Black Lives Matter” protest. Philadelphia Pa. CIRCA 2017.
K- From my long-term project “Covid-19 in Black America”, man getting tested for Covid-19 at a free Covid-19 testing
site. Chester Pa 2020.
L- From my long-term project “Covid-19 in Black America”, nurses at a free Covid-19 testing site. Philadelphia Pa. 2020.
M- From my long-term project “Covid-19 in Black America”, family sitting in their car waiting to be tested for Covid- 19 at a free Covid-19 testing site. Philadelphia Pa 2020.
N- Documentary photography during “Black Lives Matter” protest. Philadelphia Pa. 2020.
O- Documentary photography “Black Lives Matter protest. West Philadelphia Pa. 2020


Covid-19 effected my family and culture by disrupting routines and changing relationships and roles in my community. My priorities drastically changed because of Covid-19. The transition between being outside and home had a negative effect on relationships and mental health, This resulted in an increase in anxiety in my neighborhood.


We Matter: The Roots of Our Past

This piece was created to address systemic racism and the importance of fighting for freedom from oppression through a people’s combine efforts. The theme focuses on the effects of multigenerational trauma and how it has created a serious disconnect in an individual’s cultural identity. Through increased education, equality, and a new shift in perspective, healing can begin and recreate a spiritual connection to a person’s ancestral family tree.
I hope that this piece allows viewers to find oneness within themselves so that they may gain a deeper understanding of their identity through their buried family roots.


This piece was created to acknowledge the beauty of motherhood and the birth of a new generation. As a tree bears fruit so does a mother carrying a child. Her body glows as she transitions from maidenhood to motherhood. The center of the wood indicates life within the rings of growth emanating from the mother’s belly. Through the transformation, the woman carries both the weight of herself and the child, which leaves a lasting impression on the skin similar to the branches of a tree. The stretch marks that form is shown as a beautiful reminder of feminine strength and the miracle of giving life.

As a new moon comes into phase, the woman is one step closer to meeting her child for the first time. Along with a new chapter in life comes new fear of the future that cuts through her world. Even with the beauty of birthing a child, comes the fear of the unknown and the potential for experiencing life’s thorns. Regardless she remains steadfast and strong despite living in a world beyond her control that carries with it so much uncertainty.