by Howard Kaplan
In 2021, SAAM proudly introduced Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists, featuring web comics that illustrated the stories of rule-breaking, visionary artists in the hopes of inspiring young people. The inaugural digital-first series featured diverse voices that spanned the centuries and included artists working in a variety of media from paint to textiles to glitter. The common thread linking the comics is a glimpse into defining moments in each artist’s life and her artmaking.
For the initial series we assembled a list of more than fifty artists and honed it down to ten: Berenice Abbott, Anni Albers, Romaine Brooks, Maria Oakey Dewing, Carmen Herrera, Corita Kent, Edmonia Lewis, Kay Sekimachi, Alma Thomas, and Mickalene Thomas. We soon realized that there were many more stories that we wanted—needed—to tell, especially of women artists belonging to members of marginalized communities and those whose who did not get the attention they deserved in their lifetimes. We felt it was important to continue the project, and today, we announce the arrival of the second series of Drawn to Art comics, telling even more tales of inspiring women artists.
The new set of Drawn to Art comics features artists Judy Baca, Tiffany Chung, Sonya Clark, Sarah Goodridge, Ester Hernandez, Lois Mailou Jones, Nellie Mae Rowe, Augusta Savage, Jaune Quick-To-See-Smith (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation), and Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee Nation).
Once again, we worked with the outstanding illustrators and talented staff at the Ringling College of Art and Design to create visually compelling stories about each artist. Each story is unique, and each illustrator brings their own talents to the page, whether it’s portraying a mural by Judy Baca, a Monumental textile work by Sonya Clark, or a colorful home and garden art environment that self-taught artist Nellie Mae Rowe named her “Playhouse.”
Throughout the year we’ll publish stories that take a closer look at each comic and include snippets of process videos that the illustrators made while working. We’ll also hear from the illustrators themselves about the comics and what inspires their creative work.
Can art make a difference in your life? We think so! And after reading the comics, we hope you’re inspired to learn more about each artist, while also holding them up as a mirror to see yourself, perhaps in a whole new light.
We invite you to share their stories with your friends and young people in your life.