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Shop Talk; Resident Artist Fred Dewitt Artist Talk

March 7, 2023 @ 6:00 pm 7:00 pm

Date: Tuesday, March 7th
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Begins with a performance
Sessions: 1
Instructor: Fred Dewitt
Location: Location Change: The
talk will now take place in **RM 110**
Sliding Scale: FREE

For those that cannot make it in person; Fred’s artist
talk will be recorded and added to our resident artist

Community Resources
& Expectations

Fred Dewitt’s work navigates complex, layered, and often deeply emotional material and social issues. Within our ceramics community, it is our goal to create a supported, sacred space for each of us to safely investigate, learn, unlearn, and reimagine our world through our artistic practice – a lifeline for many of us. Below are community guidelines and resources designed to aid us in this goal.

Community Guidelines:

  • Listen to understand, not to respond
  • Trust in the experiences of others
  • Practice Self Agency in Emotional Regulation 
  • Take care of yourself and others (take breaks if needed) 
  • Allow yourself to express emotionality while understanding that you are in a communal space

Community Resources:


Fred Dewitt is an African American interdisciplinary artist with a disability who is researching and exploring ways to deconstruct notions of white supremacy as it is promoted in early American art. His research places materials as a cornerstone of cultural liberation. Clay, coffee, cotton, gold, sugar, and ground pigments are just some of the elements he uses as a means of cultural renewal. 

His artwork reveals how Black bodies are repositories for trauma – Black bodies are commodities; even Black Joy is commodified. His most recent work tries to depict the violence enacted on Black bodies without directly showing violence. A seemingly endless loop of Black men and women are harassed, disrespected, surveilled, beaten, and killed repeatedly on social media platforms. Black death is a spectacle, a sideshow. DeWitt says, “As an artist do I have a responsibility to address these complex social issues; more to the point, how can I document the struggles of urban life without adding to the traumatic terror, the horror of this American reality? And what are the materials which mark this space and time? What are the materials associated with Black resistance? How can I tell a different story?” DeWitt’s artwork also asks the viewer to dream of a different reality, a speculative reality, an Afro-surreal reality where blackness unapologetically thrives. 

His art practice incorporates painting, sculpture, performance art and social practice. Many of his artworks fuse Asian woodblock printing techniques, with Western oil painting, and eastern ceramic aesthetics with west African sculptural forms. 

He often gathers wild clay and organic materials from ancestral sites of resistance. He uses ink, oil and natural pigments on paper, wood, silk, and canvas to create hybrid motifs. He is a narrative history painter who explores parallels between 19th century artistic expressions and present-day realities. DeWitt designs sculptures and functional ceramic objects that combine representational clues with camouflage aesthetics of patterns, plant life, symbols of healing and resistance. 

DeWitt’s artwork reflects the life he has lived. The work is about the fears and trials of being an African American man with a disability. The work is about the challenges of urban life and the beauty of our united human conquest. 

Class Policies

The Sonoma Community Center (the Center) strives to create an inclusive, safe community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The Center is committed to creating such an environment because it brings out the fullest potential in each of us, which, in turn, contributes directly to creating a community of belonging. In order to ensure a positive, safe, and welcoming experience for everyone, all program participants are asked to abide by the following policies, community agreements, and restorative safety protocol.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is handled on an individual basis. If you think you qualify, follow the link below to apply.

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