(BALTIMORE – November 1, 2022) – A local artist, Prof. Tamara Payne, hosted an indomitable display of Afrocentric elegance last Saturday at Kevin Brown’s Nancy by SNAC. Believe it or not, the “Dear Black Girl” exhibit featured all ages of Black women. Stunningly artistic, Payne did it again.
No, she is not new to the world of art. Her work is all around. However, on this day, Payne unleashed the deepest depths of her journey as onlookers gazed in astonishment. But who is she?
Native to Baltimore City, Tamara Payne is an alumnus of the Baltimore School for the Arts where she began her artistic practices in drawing, painting, and sculpture. After studying Fashion at Parsons School of Design in New York City, she returned to Baltimore to earn her BFA in 1994 majoring in painting with a minor in ceramic studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art. (MICA)
Upon graduating, Tamara worked as an art educator in Baltimore City Public Schools from 1999-2008. Having an innate passion for humanity she’s been involved in foreign missions since 2004, participating in health aid and beautification projects while painting murals in poverty-stricken communities in South Africa, The Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
Tamara decided to pursue her own community-based art-making full-time in 2008. In the summer of 2011, she earned her Master’s of Community Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) while also completing 2 years of service for The Community Art Collaborative Americorps program. She went straight into her community arts practices while also winning The PNC Bank Transformative Art Prize earlier that Spring in 2011 for a public art installation in Baltimore City. Later that year she would be honored as The Arts and Cultural Partnership awardee from Greater Homewood now known today as Strong City Baltimore.
After graduating with a Community Arts degree, Tamara continued her community arts practices as an independent contractor at the Barclay Community School until 2013. She was honored for her mosaic work in Baltimore City in December of 2013 at the Central Baltimore Partnerships Honor Roll Celebration along with Fred Lazarus, MICA’s President since 1979. She went on in 2014 to apply and win an “Individual Artist Award” for community mosaics funded by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and won 2 additional awards in Harwood that spring. She has since then continued to grant write and install numerous murals throughout her community with other neighborhood stakeholders and activists.
Tamara is currently working full-time as the Visual Arts Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Baltimore City Community College. She is also an adjunct at The Community College of Baltimore County’s Single Step Program for special needs individuals. She continues her community arts practices, activism, art consulting, and grant writing for community murals in Baltimore City and beyond.
She continues to collaborate and target special community partners such as The House of Ruth, The Chip Program (Children of Incarcerated Parents,) Central Baltimore Partnership, The Charles Village Foundation, and the residents in Harwood and neighboring communities in Charles Village.
Tamara’s work focuses on self-exploration, healing, communal practices, celebration of life, empowerment, and relationship building in neighborhoods and school communities.