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WNY artist, art organization win Spark awards

Winners chosen for display of activism through art
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Posted at 5:34 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 18:24:08-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Jalen Law has received the "Artist of the Year" award from Art Services Inc., and the Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts was this year's winner for "Arts Organization of the Year."

Both winners were chosen because of their display of activism through art.

"Art is a way to learn to speak up in a positive, life-changing matter," said Veronique Cote, Executive Director at CEPA Gallery.

"My purpose is to use art as a tool of healing and self-development," said Law.

Law's art featured frontline workers as a way to thank them. He said he was inspired by family who work in the medical field.

"And I wanted to do something that reflected their hard work, their determination to make sure that our society is safe and out of harm's way," he said.

The proceeds of his art display were used to feed families in need.

CEPA Gallery documented the Black Lives Matter movement in the community, and sponsored a series of billboards to support mental health in the Black community.

"We culminated those exhibitions with invading bus stops, and reaching over 800 - thousands of people in Buffalo that use the used the public transit to go to work throughout COVID," said Cote.

All these artworks were created to tell unique stories during historic times.

"Art is cultural anthropology. It's recording the history of the people of now," said Cote.