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Community over competition: Raleigh artist strives to make art inclusive.

Adriana Ameigh at an art event
Adriana Ameigh at an art event (Photo provided by Adriana Ameigh)

Adriana Ameigh is an abstract artist who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Throughout her childhood and years at school she had an interest in art, but decided to pursue another path when choosing a college major. Adriana graduated with with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing, then moved to North Carolina in 2007 and began working for a financial institution.

After more than 10 years working in finance, Adriana decided to pursue her art full time. The circumstances surrounding this change, she would come to find out, were less than ideal. "I quit in December 2019 and of course Covid hit a few months after that." Despite the setback of a global pandemic, Adriana pushed on and opened an art studio on the second floor of Art Space in Downtown Raleigh.

Right now Adriana's work can be seen at Lake Benson Park as part of the Garner Art Around Town installation. She has two canvasses displayed: one of her own work, and one with many squares that were painted by volunteer participants. "I asked if I could have two panels instead of one so we could make it a community project," says Adriana. "Mari from the Downtown Garner Association thought it was a great idea, and in the end there were over 30 participants on that project."

Inviting the public to take place in her art was a purposeful decision for Adriana. She tries to make the process of creating art approachable, while also giving participants an idea of what goes on behind-the-scenes. "When I was a kid and I would go to art fairs, I remember seeing live painting in Old San Juan for tourists. For me it was the most fascinating thing, but you don't get to participate in the making of the art. I want to blur the line between professional artist and hobbyist. "

In this same spirit of community collaboration, Adriana has begun work on a larger-scale project, called the Community Canvas Project. Started in fall 2020, the project invites people of all ages to paint collaboratively on one canvas. Adriana and other professional artists begin a canvas with a theme, such as geometric shapes, and each participant adds to the artwork. "Novices to professionals, it's open to everyone," Adriana explains. "As a participant, you get to interact not just with the art that other folks in your community have done, but with marks of other artists."

There are now five completed canvases, and Adriana hopes to compile at least 12. Once finished, hopefully next year she says, the plan is to exhibit the entire collection before auctioning the artwork for charity.

On top of her commitment to getting the community involved in art, Adriana also wants to help artists with the business side of making art a career. She, along with fellow artist and friend Jackie Sanders, created a podcast called Art Studio Insights. The aim of the podcast, Adriana says, is to demystify the creative process and exchange ideas with career-minded artists. "It's goes behind-the-scenes of studio practice for artists that are doing this as a career, or attempting to do this as a career." There are 20 episodes currently, and new content is released each Tuesday.

Art Studio Insights is available wherever podcasts are found. To see more of Adriana's art, visit her website, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.