Mildred Howard – That Was Then and This is Now III
Dimensions: 38 x 40 x 2″ framed / 36 x 38″ paper
Medium: buttons on canvas and
Mildred Howard is an artist, activist, teacher, mother and grandmother, born and raised in the Bay Area. Known for her sculptural installations and mixed-media assemblage work, Howard has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Adeline Kent Award from the San Francisco Art Institute, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and a fellowship from the California Arts Council.
In 2011, the city of Berkeley honored Howard by declaring March 29, 2011 to be Mildred Howard Day. As San Francisco Chronicle writer Leah Garchik explains: Howard, a San Francisco-born artist whose work is at the Oakland Museum of California, the de Young, SFMOMA, the San Jose Museum of Art and elsewhere, has founded educational programs, managed an art and communities program at the Exploratorium, and was executive director of the Edible Schoolyard. She’s been involved with nearly every university and art institution in the Bay Area and has also worked in Alameda County Juvenile Hall and in various Bay Area jails.
Howard has lived in Berkeley since 1949 and has lived a uniquely engaged life; as a teenager, she shook hands with John F. Kennedy and had lunch with Fannie Lou Hamer, and recalls seeing Muhammad Ali shadowboxing his way down Adeline one morning in the early 1970s. She was a member of SNCC and CORE, protested segregation in Berkeley schools, and continues to work with youth and emerging artists both in the Bay Area and internationally.
In the self-portrait “That Was Then and This Is Now III,” Howard printed her face atop a constellation of buttons, producing a cascade of textures. “You’re always pigeonholed into this stereotyped group,” she said. “I don’t like being categorized into groups because we’re all individuals.”