Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries
66 Fifth Ave
Parsons School of Design

(under)REPRESENT(ed) is an exhibition that features Parsons alumni of color whose creative practices explore the lived experience of race and aim to dismantle systems of racism.

James Terrell, MFA Painting ’02

James Terrell is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Northeast, Washington, DC. His paintings incorporate ideas of ancestry and identity alongside formal concerns of color and composition. Terrell holds a MFA in painting from Parsons School of Design and a BFA from Howard University. He has exhibited throughout Washington, DC for over 15 years, including at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum and the Howard University Gallery of Fine Art. He works as an art teacher in the DC Public Schools. The Honfleur Gallery presented James Terrell with the 2017 East of the River Distinguished Artist Award. The Honfleur Gallery exemplifies high standards of art and culture from across the city and nation. In 2012, the East of the River Distinguished Artist Award was created, to celebrate the exemplary caliber of artists from Ward 7 and 8.

State of Confusion

James Terrell, MFA Painting ’02
Acrylic on Canvas

“There is a lot going on in the world today. Day to day survival can be stressful. Although at times we may feel like we are burdened down, we must never give up. We must struggle to make a change both internal and external. We must shatter the myth that we can not overcome. We must hold it together and regroup. We must have hope or we will be consumed by the mass confusion surrounding the day to day struggle.”

How would you describe your day to day job and/or artistic practice?

I paint and create every day. I teach art everyday. I am constantly learning about and growing in my artistic craft by teaching others about art.

Please describe your educational path, including formal and informal training or learning?

I am James Stephen Terrell a native Washingtonian who was reared in Ward 7. My parents are Rev. Dr. James E. Terrell, Pastor of historic Second Baptist Church of Washington D.C. and Retired Superior Court Associate Judge Mary A. Terrell of the Superior Court of Washington D.C. I received my high school diploma from Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C. I received the Bachelors of Fine Art in 1999 from Howard University, Masters of Fine Arts in 2002 from Parsons School of Design in New York City and in May of 2006, I received the Masters of Divinity Degree from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City with a concentration on Theology and the Fine Arts. While attending Union Theological Seminary, I also pursued Fine Arts painting elective courses at Columbia University. In preparation for my teacher certification, I elected to take graduate education courses at the University of the District of Columbia.

What advice would you share with current Parsons students?

Stay focused. Study you craft. Never take your education for granted. Don't just make art for art sake. Make art for the sake of the people.

Posted in Artists.