Jamaican Artist Michelle Drummond Becomes First Black Woman Awarded Solo Art Commission by City of West Palm Beach

Sheri-Kae McLeod, CNW Reporter

Jamaican-born artist Michelle Drummond has become the first Black woman to be awarded a solo art commission that will be permanently installed in the City of West Palm Beach through its Artlife WPB program.

ArtLife WPB is the city’s premier art program that commissions and presents a variety of projects created by artists at all career levels. The program mandates that funds totaling 1% of public and private development projects throughout the City be set aside for the inclusion of art. Since its existence, the ArtLife WPB has awarded numerous art commissions to artists including Black female artist for temporary installation.

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At the recent City Commission meeting on June 14, history was made, for the ArtLife WPB program and the City, when Mayor James and the City Commission unanimously gave their approval for the artwork entitled “The Metamorphosis” by Drummond to be created and installed at the Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach, making her the first Black female artist to receive a solo art commission for permanent installation since the program began. A significant milestone in Drummond’s career and a momentous event for the City of West Palm Beach.

The artwork, which Drummond says is inspired by the philosophy that knowledge and transformation align and empower change and rebirth, honors the City’s Mandel Public Library as a resource for all with the goal of advancing society. It will be placed in the Urban Living Room of the library.

In congratulating Drummond on her historic milestone, Sybille Welter, Administrator of Public Art and Culture for the City of West Palm Beach, said “we are thrilled to have an artist whose work reflects the cultural diversity of the city. Drummond pushes the field of textile arts by creating works on a canvas with a three-dimensional viewpoint; brightly colored she produces objects of contemplation.”

Michelle Drummond is a mixed media fiber artist. Her practice involves using multi-colored, multi-weighted fiber (yarn), glue and acrylic paint on and off canvas.

Drummond has been living in the United States for 26 years and has been creating art for 23 of those years. Her work has been featured in 20 exhibitions across South Florida in the last three years, including at the Cornell Art Museum, Art Palm Beach and Art Basel in Miami.

Drummond said that she is honored to be the first Black female artist to be awarded this commission.

“My hopes of finding the audience that would truly appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of my artwork came to fruition. It is an honor, especially being the first Black female artist and also of Jamaican heritage to be awarded this permanent solo public art commission by the City of West Palm Beach ArtLife WPB program,” she told CNW Network.

“This opportunity will not only provide me the platform to expose my work to a broader audience but will allow me to have a positive emotional and mental effect on the residents and patrons in the West Palm Beach community through my artwork.”

Drummond says the project has a six to nine-month timeline.

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