Each in Their Own Voice: African-American Artists in Cleveland, 1970-2005

Moe Brooker interview excerpt, 13 January 2008

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Moe Brooker

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Almost There
Almost There, 1982

Program Length: 04:58

Artist Moe Brooker discusses his life and career. A native of Philadelphia, PA, Brooker came to Cleveland in 1979 to teach at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where he became that school's first full-time African-American instructor. Shortly after arriving in Cleveland, Brooker won top honors at the prestigious May Show, overcoming the common perception that no black artist could win the show.

The artist describes his own education and developement as an artist, beginning with his early interest in drawing comic book figures, through his education in Philadelphia public schools and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, as well as study abroad in Rome and Paris. Brooker discusses his interest and insights on Jazz, and its impact on his visual art. Brooker describes Cleveland as he experienced it in the 1970s and 1980s, and credits the city and it's arts culture for fostering his development as an artist. The artist speaks candidly about the relationship of art and race, protesting the label "African-American art" as a "ludicrous and unimportant" distinction. This interview was conducted over a telephone connection.

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