Audacious Agency

The Windsor Art Center presents Audacious Agency, a traveling exhibition of works by members of the Audacious Agency Collective. Opening with a free public reception on Saturday, May 4 from 5–7 p.m., the show runs through Saturday, June 15. Hartford-based artists and friends – Andre Rochester, Shelley D. Best, Patrick “Rico” Williams, Zulynette Morales, and Keith Claytor – founded the Collective in 2018 with their common goal: to create, agitate, and illuminate. With over 30 years of combined experience creating art, these artists express their passion for positive social change through photography, painting, and multimedia installation. They inspire their audience to explore challenges to humanity such as those of injustice, racism, and sexism.

The Windsor Art Center is the third of five Connecticut venues for the exhibition in 2019. It debuted at Yale Divinity School in November 2018. In March, it was shown at Five Points Annex Gallery. Redeemer’s Church Gallery in Plainville will be the venue this summer and The 224 Ecospace in Hartford in the fall.

Events complementing the exhibition:

  • Opening reception & Meet the Artists: Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 5–7 p.m. FREE
  • Performance: Stillness in Motion  Thursday, May 30, 6–8 p.m.

    Tickets: $20/$15 members

  • Artist Talk/Panel discussion: Saturday June 1st, 2-4pm moderated by Paula Agnew, FREE.
  • Issa Writing Workshop: Resistance in a Post-Racial America Hosted by Patrick “Rico” Williams for ages 16+: Saturday, June 8, 2–3 p.m, FREE. Please register by email to williamspan@gmail.com.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Harry E. Goldfarb Family Foundation, Hartford Hospital, Dan J. & Alice Ford Ferraina and other individuals, businesses, & organizations in our community.

Biographies of the artists:

The Rev. Dr. Shelley D. Best’s artistic sojourn began as a spiritual practice and preaching medium during her theological study at Hartford Seminary. Her portfolio includes acrylics, mixed media, upcycling, and activist photography that emerges from her life of service inspired by meditation, prayer and community change making. A self-taught artist, her work is inspired by Hindu and Buddhist symbolism in mandala art and the abstracts of artist Piet Mondrian.  Her travels to Israel, Palestine, South Africa, India and the Caribbean have informed her efforts as a human rights and interfaith ambassador. She has a B.A. in communication from Central Connecticut State University, a M.A. in religious leadership from Hartford Seminary, a M.Div. from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in ministry from Hartford Seminary.

Zulynette Morales, a Chicago native raised in Hartford, uses art and poetry to communicate a narrative rooted in realness, allowing viewers and listeners to conceptualize their own narrative and connect in a genuine, raw, and powerful way. After 10 years in the non-profit world, Zulynette made the leap to work as a full-time artist and poet, combining her academic (Master’s in Social Work, UConn) and research background with her artistry. Whether performing, speaking to groups, or facilitating workshops, Zulynette engages audiences of all backgrounds and ages while delving into topics from poverty to feminism, self-esteem to Latinx identity, privilege to LGBTQ identity, family issues to politics. The first Hartford Iron Poet champion and a 100 Women of Color honoree, she has made a name for herself in the poetry and art circuit. She aims to spark minds, hearts, and conversations, encourage healing and reclamation of power.

Andre Rochester, a native of Hartford, specializes in acrylic, charcoal, and pastel. He studied illustration at the University of Connecticut: School of Fine Arts and completed his BA in Studio Art at Charter Oak State College. Andre is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership at Quinnipiac University.   Andre works in corporate America by day and moonlights as a professional artist. He channels the same creativity he uses for his artwork to invoke thought and implement new ideas in the office. He uses his experience in the workplace to assist emerging artists with portfolio development, curating and consulting for art shows, providing mentorship reminiscent of what young professionals seek in the traditional workplace. He encourages young artists to develop their craft with a focus on professionalism and business acumen. With every step forward, Andre extends his hand backward to pull another artist ahead.

Patrick “Rico” Williams creates healthy activists. Through writing, content creation, youth development, consultation, workshop facilitation, and much more, he helps people find the inherent value in their stories confronting the ever-present danger of silence. Propelled by the infinite sacrifices of the ancestors, he is meant to challenge paradigms. A perpetual way-maker, Patrick cultivated a habit of blazing new paths, crafting organizations and supports that follow one narrative, and being the person he had always needed. Patrick recently released his book “Jesus is Black”, a first-person account of Blackness in America. His left shoulder has also made an appearance on GQ.com. He’s a 2018 100 Men of Color Honoree.

Keith Claytor, a commercial, wedding and fine art photographer, believes that “the perfect image makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It moves you.” A self-taught photographer and lover of light and shadow, his work has been published in countless magazines and online outlets. He takes an analog approach to his images, relying on his camera as a tool to tell a story and capture the emotion of a moment.  A native of Bloomfield, Connecticut, Keith began his career in the audio industry where he discovered his love for the art of sight and sound.  In 2005, feeling pulled into freelance photography, he founded TimeFrozen Photography.  By using the subject’s body captured in action, Keith achieves art without artificiality. His love of travel with his wife, Chinenye Claytor, has expanded his photographic perspective.  His images from Nigeria, Ghana, Paris, Lisbon and other excursions have been exhibited in various galleries and viewed by people all over the world.