Our D.C. Artists of the Week are the founders of Black Artists of DC (BADC): Viola Leak, PLANTA, and Aziza. The three founded BADC in 1999 to foster stronger communication between Black artists living and working in the District. Since its founding, BADC has grown to include members and supporters from all disciplines. 

BADC sponsors public exhibitions, educational programs and community events that increase the awareness and documentation of a variety of visual expressions by Black artists. Through their BADC mission statement, these artists remain dedicated to educating and enriching the local and global community to the “cultural heritage and contemporary practices of artists of African descent.”

BADC is built on providing resources for Black visual artists. Each month, BADC hosts meetings where members can come to critique each other’s work, share opportunities, and discuss the progress and room for growth of the arts in D.C. BADC similarly provides an online platform where their members learn about new opportunities in their disciplines.

Viola Leak is a painter and mixed media artist from Tennessee whose work often references religious motifs and her African American heritage. Viola moved to the District to study media, and she earned her Master of Fine Arts in Media from Howard University. Throughout her impressive career, Viola has served as an art consultant for the New York State Board of Education and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Print Department. She also worked for the Experimental Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institution.

Meanwhile, “Aziza” Claudia Gibson-Hunter was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Temple University, and she later received her Master of Fine Arts from Howard University. Aziza was an administrator at Parsons School of Design, and a faculty member at Howard University and Bowie State University. Her work graces the collections of the Washington D.C. Art Bank and the Liberian Embassy. Aziza created two public commissions for D.C.’s Department of General Services. Her pieces “The Wall Of Unity” and “ANCESTORS” can be found in several D.C. public schools. She currently lives in D.C. where she works out of her own art studio. 


Lastly, “PLANTA” Jacqueline Reeder is a bold visual artist who taught at Bowie State for several years. She is known for her amazing use of colors when illustrating and painting. For PLANTA, BADC provides her the opportunity to continue to teach and connect with artists as she did in the classroom. She is enthusiastic about fostering the next generations of genius artists. 

You can learn more about BADC, and how to get connected with their community of artists and supporters by visiting their website

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