Pérez Art Museum Miami’s new arts education program, Art Detectives, promotes critical and timely dialogue between community youth and police. Meet the incredible PAMM Teaching Artists tasked with the challenge of using art to change the perceptions of two groups, often at odds.
Loni Johnson is a visual artist, educator, mother, and activist that believes artists have a cyclical obligation to give back and nurture the community with their creative gifts. The Miami native graduated from the New World School of the Arts in 1998 and continued her visual arts studies at SUNY Purchase College in New York, where she received her B.F.A. in 2003. Her artistic journey came full circle when Johnson became an adjunct professor in the visual arts department at New World, where she remained until 2012. In 2012, she became the Prevention Coordinator of The A-List Company – a youth arts peer education program funded through Florida’s Department of Children and Families. Johnson is also the visual arts discipline coordinator for YoungArts and has been with the organization since 2010.
Johnson’s repertoire includes work showcased at Art Africa (2011), PRIZM Art Fair (2013 & 2014) and Yeelen Gallery (2015) during Miami Art Week, as well as artist features at the 5th Annual Spoken Soul Festival (2012) and FLIC FEST at The Irondale Theatre, Brooklyn (2016).
Chire Regans is a visual artist and activist, who uses her artistic gifts as a tool to raise social awareness and create a dialogue about issues affecting us all. Part of PAMM’s Art Detectives program, Regans uses her role as an artist is to unite the community through expression. Regans received her BFA from Florida A&M University. Recent shows include of hers include Resurrecting Venus at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, and I Too America, a group exhibit at Historic Jenkins House.
“It’s important for me to be a part of Art Detectives because historically the role of an artist has been to unite a community through expression. One of my responsibilities as a visual artist is to address social issues. There is a distinct disconnect between the community as a whole and members of law enforcement. That disconnect can be addressed in a variety of ways, but using a visually expressive method is most effective for me. Through this program I hope to help create a healthy and productive dialogue and promote the notion of one community working together for the betterment of its members.”
Susan Del Conte is a mixed media process artist who creates art from found objects, non-traditional materials and photography. Del Conte was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, but moved to Miami in 2015 to pursue her art career. As a former attorney, she devoted her law practice to representing abused children, incarcerated juveniles and adults with mental health issues. Del Conte approaches her art as a tribute to these individuals, with whom she had the privilege of sharing life experiences with and the joy of overcoming seemingly unsurmountable obstacles.
Del Conte became drawn to creating physical works of art in her 30’s and began creating with found objects and discarded paint. She is primarily a self-taught artist and began her first formal art training when she was fifty-years-old, later earning her M.F.A from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is also a PAMM docent and has an artist studio Yospace in Little Haiti.