The Vilcek Foundation has partnered with Pen + Brush gallery to develop a digital coloring book featuring 25 works by 15 leading artists who work with the gallery. This is Who We Are: Color the Artists of Pen + Brush Gallery highlights the many ways in which contemporary artists are exploring themes of gender, immigration, economics, and the natural world. The coloring book is available as a free download from the Vilcek Foundation.
The Coloring Book
The digital coloring book features 25 works by 15 artists from the Pen + Brush cohort, interpreted as line drawings by illustrator Paula Kinsel. The works are reproduced in full color, along with short artist biographies on each of the creators. A core purpose of the book is to build visibility and awareness of the artists whose work is included, while encouraging readers and users to delight in the diversity of artists and artwork championed by Pen + Brush.
The book’s title was inspired by a group exhibition shown at Pen + Brush in 2021, titled This is Who We Are, which shifted models of traditional exhibitions by enabling the curators and artists to rotate in and add works to the exhibition as works on view sold. Launched at a critical time as the United States emerged from the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition was a commitment to the values of Pen + Brush: to uplift, promote, and find meaningful financial support for artists. Dawn Delikat, Executive Director of Pen + Brush writes, “It is a statement of empowerment intended to honor their individuality and each of their artistic voices, while bringing them together through the common ground of the Pen + Brush.”
“This coloring book and its collection of selected artists and work salutes what we do here at Pen + Brush,” says Bird Picinninni, Gallery Manager and Associate Curator at Pen + Brush. “Paula Kinsel’s line drawings of the original works capture the unwavering strength, identity, and confidence of the artists we work with globally and intergenerationally. These artists empower themselves, their subject, and their audience. It’s a unique and extraordinary combination of whimsy and activism.”
Established in 1894, Pen + Brush is a publicly supported not-for-profit fighting for gender equity in the arts. P+B provides a platform to showcase the work of women, non-binary, and female-identified transgender artists and writers to a broader audience with the ultimate goal of affecting real change within the marketplace.
Coloring books: Illustrating connections
This is Who We Are: Color the Artists of Pen + Brush Gallery is the second coloring book collaboration between the Vilcek Foundation, Kinsel, and Pen + Brush. In 2020, the foundation published Be a Good Ancestor: The Michela Martello Coloring Book, highlighting works by Pen + Brush artist Michela Martello (born in Italy). “Connecting with the diverse artists of the Pen + Brush gallery through their work has been an incredibly enriching experience,” says Kinsel. “ I am grateful for the opportunity to lend my efforts to inspire others to engage with this vibrant and inclusive community of artists.”