Baltimore Social Innovation Fellow: Working From the Inside Out
February 10, 2017
By Lisa Simeone
Photography by Justin Tsucalas
Harvey got laid off, couldn’t afford to continue at Temple, and moved back to Baltimore. It was, she says, an ignominious end.
“I used to be super-arrogant. So for me to have to return so unceremoniously . . . .” Her voice trails off. “I decided I never wanted to feel like that again, to not be in control.”
Determined as ever, she soon started her first line of street apparel, inspired by her own multi-media artwork and by the philosophy of hip-hop artist Nas, whom Harvey quotes as saying, “We were scholars before there were colleges,” referring to the history of black people before slavery. Harvey realized that if she could create clothing and accessories from her art, so could kids in Baltimore, kids who may otherwise never have been encouraged in their endeavors. So she founded Baltimore’s Gifted. It’s an art and e-commerce site designed for black youth to sell their own original work, whether paintings, sketches, photography, or digital art. The work is made into T-shirts, purses, totebags, pillows, coffee mugs, and the like, and the artists get 80% of the sales. Harvey relies on herself and other artists in the city to scout out young talent and introduce them to Baltimore’s Gifted.
“I’m not pushing a certain theme,” she emphasizes. “I’m just looking for art that impresses me, for self-expression. I don’t want black kids to feel that that have to feed into the struggle narrative. We are more than struggle. They can make their own narrative.”
*Read the full feature at http://warnockfoundation.org/portfolio_page/cadeatra-harvey/