Inappropriate Gardeners and South Side Boy's Club decorated the walls of an episode in HBO's Bored to Death. Click here.
My response to these painting was such a mix of emotions. The art is stunning: big, bold and rich with color and texture. The gallery has done a magnificent job of displaying the works. It was my reading of their individual stories that hit emotional nerves deep in my gut. These were real people with amazing courage and grace. You can see it in their faces..their eyes. The artist has overlaid quotes, text and other media representation from the time. I sensed that these paintings were the work of her soul... honoring these heroic people... To fully understand the injustice that they acted against, in a peaceful manner, made me wonder if I could be as courageous under those circumstances. To be arrested and jail for peaceful assembly...respectfully riding a bus..
This exhibit is one which calls out to be viewed, and viewed again. Each time I take a friend, or client, or true love to see it, the intensity of the experience seems to shift, shimmer, glimmer and change. It pulls me back into a strange, intense past which lies with us in a burning re-incarnation in the ‘tea party’ and the violent language of the resurgent right. The protracted heroism of those who subjected themselves to such hatred, and irrationality pours back into me, and lifts me up, like the light coming down from the beautiful windows in the upper parts of the library. Often, these intensely surreal faces from the past seem like guardian angels shouldering us forward into a more hopeful and forgiving future. The work of Charlotta Janssen at the [Nashville] Public Library is not only a work of Art, it is a pulsing theological moment of unending duration, and continuing compelling attention and enlightenment.
Her incandescent artistic genius, which captures the soul of a moment and the humanity of some of our finest citizens, offers a mirror in which all of us can confront our enduring challenges and highest achievements as a nation. [...] I can hardly express the breathtaking moral and artistic value of Charlotta Janssen’s paintings of the 1961 Freedom Riders.
The energy of Charlotta Janssen’s work and generous spirit cannot be underestimated. To merely dwell and write on the beauty of the Freedom Rider portraits would take many pages. To gauge the power of her commemoration of the men and women who so profoundly changed our history is immeasurable. [...] Any opportunity to work with Charlotta and her art is a fortunate one indeed.
The New Yorker — "Civility" by Rebecca Mead
Oprah.com — "Artist Pays Tribute to Freedom Riders" (video)
The Design Sleuth: A STUNNING ART EXHIBIT IN POTTSTOWN
The Mercury — " 'Threads' art exhibit in Pottstown brings Civil Rights history to life" by Laura Catalano
The Design Sleuth — "A Stunning Art Exhibit in Pottstown" by Carolyn Harris
HipHopWired.com — "Artist Charlotta Janssen Creates Exhibit from Freedom Riders Mug Shots" by Latifah Muhammed
PlayMakers Repertory Company — "Designing the world of 'The Parchman Hour'"
Nashville Scene — "Charlotta Janssen at Nashville Public Library" by Laura Hutson
NYDailyNews.com — "Canvasing history: Civil-rights arrest photos inspire Brooklyn artist's Black History Month exhibit" by Elizabeth Lazarowitz
The Tennessean — "Faces of the Freedom Rides" by MiChelle Jones