Welcome to Arts Roll Call, the bi-monthly podcast that features Arts Council artists and arts organizations. This month in episode 8 of the podcast, we speak with local artist and muralist, Brian Whitfield.
Brian Whitfield has been a graphic designer for the Michigan Department of Transportation for 24 years. Illustrator, painter and graphic artist, Brian graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids Michigan. He received his Masters of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. Brian’s accomplishments include: 1984-Designer of the Ingham County Flag; 1991-The Basil H. Alkazzi Award (U.S.A.) an award to an American artist; 2013 design of Michigan's license Plate, named “Best New Plate,” internationally, by the American License Plate Collectors Association; and designer of Michigan's current Mackinac Bridge plate. He was mural artist for the “Under the Bridge” mural project, the Capital City Market and is currently working on a mural at the Allen Neighborhood Center, all in Lansing, Michigan. He has also had numerous entries in Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize, including this year’s event where he received the ArtPrize Contemporary Black Art Award for his mural “Planted by the Sacred Streams of Grace.”
In this episode of Arts Roll Call, host Robin Miner-Swartz and Brian Whitfield talk about Brian's foray into painting murals, his contributions to the Greater Lansing landscape and how public art, especially colorful murals, help to connect people to their communities and build a sense of pride. Brian also shares how participating in the mural festival in Jackson, Michigan, allowed him to make his own important connections with other artists.