2019 – 2020 Distillery Artists-in-Residence

Distillery is a yearlong studio residency designed to help emerging artists transition into a professional artistic career by supporting a rigorous studio practice and providing professional development and mentorship opportunities. The program focuses on inspiring participants to embrace new challenges in their work and builds a supportive community in which to create.

The Artists:

Jamie Earnest is a painter and sculptor. Embracing the often-southern communal value of potlucks and shared meals, Earnest’s current work aims to examine the contrasts of altruism and polarization in the south, as seen through a lens in which they are combined and reimagined as visualizations of ‘acts of hospitality’. Originally from Alabama, she received of the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship to attend the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Art and has had solo exhibitions in Houston TX, Alabama, and Pennsylvania. Earnest holds a BFA in Painting from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art.

Brendon J Hawkins is a multidisciplinary artist whose work attempts to dissect and construct the identity of the self. Through emphasis in photography, film, the blackberry, installation, and sculpture, Hawkins examines the relationship between personal identity and the group identity. Hawkins is currently the Brand Strategist for The14-40, an organization specializing in time-based communications locally and globally. Brendon J Hawkins has exhibited in Pittsburgh, PA, and Provincetown, MA, and has worked with the Carnegie Museum of Art, Kelly Strayhorn Theater and Mattress Factory.

Adam Linn is an artist working in drawing and print media whose work explores the intersection between queerness and anthropomorphism as a means of constructing an alternative view of the world. Adam is a current and active member of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Print Group. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017.

Njaimeh Njie is a photographer, filmmaker, and multimedia producer. Her work explores contemporary Black experiences, with a focus on the connections between place, time, and identity. Njie’s work has been featured in outlets including CityLab, Belt Magazine, and the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Storyboard Blog, and she has presented at venues including TEDxPittsburghWomen, Harvard University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Njie earned her B.A. in Film and Media Studies in 2010 from Washington University in St. Louis.

Centa Schumacher is an artist, educator, and director of the art gallery Phosphor Project Space, an exhibition space focused on emerging artists. In her lens-based practice, Schumacher uses abstraction and luminance to explore ideas of consciousness and the indefinite. Schumacher recently exhibited her work in the solo exhibition Voids, etc at 707 Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her MFA from San Francisco State University.

Sheila Swartz is a sculptor whose artistic practice investigates women’s narratives and private spaces, specifically the home. Her work includes mixed media sculptures and installations primarily consisting of building materials, fibers, and deconstructed found objects. Sheila’s artwork has been exhibited regionally and nationally. She earned her MFA degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2019, where she studied Sculpture.

Kamara T. (Wavy Wednesday)’s artwork is an interplay of fun, femininity, and pop culture. She uses bright colors and draws on cultural symbols as one of her main approaches to confront social justice issues through her work. Implying tongue-in-cheek imagery to reflect her own personality, she often uses satire in her work to explore pop culture and racism. Wavy Wednesday’s art represents the more playful aspects of her experience as a Black female artist. She received her BFA from California University of Pennsylvania.

The Exhibition: Seeking Truth

At a time when the American people are being inundated by a sense of uncertainty, artists demonstrate the profound outcomes that are possible when one willingly steps into the unknown. Breaking from past techniques, materials, and comfort zones, six artists rise to the challenge of creating artworks that reveal societal blind spots and shed light on shared human experiences in an ever-shifting landscape. Whether confronting the role of technology in our lives, exploring personal histories, or embracing remaining cultural comforts, artists featured in Seeking Truth look to interrupt our current understanding of what is real and what is true.

Exhibiting artists include: Jamie Earnest, Brendon J Hawkins, Adam Linn, Njaimeh Njie, Centa Schumacher, & Kamara T. (Wavy Wednesday).

Download a price list from the exhibit here.

View additional works for sale at Small Mall.

The Mentors:

Each year, Distillery artists are paired with professional mentors from the region. Mentors for the Distillery 10 Cohort included: