Caryl Henry, Artist with a Purpose

"Art is Business"
 Caryl Henry, Artist with a Purpose

For more than 40 years her work has harnessed the power of creative collaboration with multi-generational, multicultural, and interfaith communities. Together, we conceive, design, and implement public art projects in diverse public settings.

She works with media that are both traditional and experimental, often incorporating recycled or found objects, and natural plant materials. In the studio, this work has spanned painting, mixed media printmaking, paper making, textiles, installations, and sculpture. A strong long-term focus in my artwork is on ancestry, culture, environment, and nature. This art has exhibited throughout the US and internationally in small museums, in galleries and online.

When she workings in the community, she endeavors to combine elements of her skill set that include, visual artist, teaching artist, curator, researcher, lecturer, writer, and social activist.



Connecting communities with our natural world. Inspiring creative and collaborative environmental action.


Shonna McDaniel- Founder Sojourner Truth Art Museum Artist and Social Justice Activist.

"Art is Business"  Biographical Profile: The Artist Shonna McDaniels

Mrs. McDaniels is a committed “artist and social justice activist.
Founder and Director of the Sojourner Truth Art Museum (founded in 1996).  McDaniels is a professional artist/teacher/muralist and community activist, she has an extensive background in art instruction and mural designs.  She has studied under some of the finest professors in the Los Rios Community College network and master artists in the San Francisco Bay Area.  While residing in Germany, McDaniels instructed art classes for two years on military bases as well as organizing art exhibitions and programs.



Prior to 1996, Shonna McDaniels was one of the co-founders and artist of the Visual Arts Development Project (founded in 1988), McDaniels taught art classes, conducted workshops and organized art exhibits throughout the Oak Park and Del Paso communities.   She has donated art to various organizations as well as helped raise money for charitable causes throughout the Sacramento Region.  She has over 25 years of community involvement, with various organizations that support the arts through exhibition, artist residences, community activism, community murals and organizing community-based festivals in South Sacramento.

Ms. McDaniels has contributed to over 150 murals to the landscape of Sacramento, Stockton, and San Francisco:
These include among others:

  • The Sacramento Redevelopment Agency Downtown Mural Project
  • Marian Anderson Elementary School Mural Project
  • Hmong Women’s Heritage Community Mural  
  • Oak Dale Elementary School Mural, Totem, and Stepping Stone Project 

  • PS7 Elementary School Restoration Mural 
  • Breadfruit Tree Restaurant Mural Restoration- Stockton, Ca
  • San Francisco Farmers Market Mural Project (Facilitated by Precita Eyes) 

  • County of Sacramento WIC Program Floor Mural and two wall murals 
  • Magic Johnson Center (5 community murals)
  • Florin Business Arts Complex/Sojourner Truth Murals Project 
  • South Gate Baskin Robins Ice Cream Community Mural Project 
  • The Greater Sacramento Urban League Tobacco Education Program (3 murals in conjunction with the Sacramento Metropolitan Art Commission Neighborhood Arts Program
  • Franklin Villa Resource Center—Franklin Resource Center Para-Transit Shuttle Bus Project (8 murals)
  •  The “Green Dream” mural, commissioned for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2007 Inaugural, for example, depicts images of a healthy California.  
The mural displayed at Cal EPA and the California Museum for History of Women and the Arts.  Several of her murals advocate against tobacco use, such as the “Tobacco Education Mural,” Neighborhood Arts/Franklin Villa Resource Center. Shonna also travels to other states and cities (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Stockton, Yuba City, and Napa Valley) to help with community public murals and outreach.



As an Artist-in-Residence at Marian Anderson Elementary School (Sacramento, CA), McDaniels designed a mural framing contralto opera singer Marian Anderson in various stages of her life and career.  She also conducted after-school and weekend art workshops.

Ms. McDaniels believes that the desire to experience and participate in creativity is essential to optimum human expression and development. Her artistic legacy within the community is renowned to grassroots, professional artists, politicians and the business community. Her contributions have been recognized by Council members: Lauren Hammond, Bonnie Pannell, Larry Carr, Mayor Kevin Johnson, Congress Doris Matsui, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Entertainer Russell Simmons.

Mrs. McDaniels is a committed “social artist-activist.” Her work is dedicated to creativity and social change within the context of an evolving, healthy community.


Personal Statement: My purpose as an artist is to leave a legacy for future artists. I want young black girls and boys to look at my art and experience something of worth, pride, and value. For this reason, I strive to have the essence of my work reflect dignity, strength and the beauty of each subject that I present. The education of youth for me is very important and I have spent a large part of my career as an artist educating youth.

I feel today, more than ever, that art is needed by young people as a forum for safe expression, communication, exploration, imagination, cultural and historical understanding.  Art is an essential, encompassing life element that has the ability to produce an environment with a productive, cultural exchange of ideas. In addition, art promotes the acquisition of intellectual skills in literature, science, and math. Indeed, art should be a priority in human development.  Art has the ability to inspire youth to be creative, think outside the box and use their skills to beautify their environment.

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Black Creativity at the Museum of Science and Industry

"Art is Business" reposted for Talmadge - and Board and Members of Diaspora Rhythms 

Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition 2020

MSI image @ from website 2018

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Black Creativity, which celebrates African-American achievement in science, technology, engineering, art, and medicine. On Monday, Jan. 20 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – see more than 200 works inside the Juried Art Exhibition, hear stories from Chicago innovators inside the Innovation Studio, and receive free Museum Entry for Illinois residents.



CONGRATULATIONS to all The ARTISTS included in this years 50th Anniversary - See Attachment below
This juried art exhibition celebrates 50 years of the Black Creativity Program, which is the longest-running exhibition of African-American Art in the nation. There were  700 entries that were reduced to 94 or so artists and over 200 works of art. So we are looking forward to seeing your outstanding artworks.

MSI @ photo from website

The exhibition will be open to the public on January 20th - Monday and the Gala will be on January 25th - Saturday at the MSI. The exhibit runs from Jan..20 - March 1st. Come check it out. Free days at the MSI are as follows:
JAN 20 - 23,   JAN 27 - 30     ......   FEB 3 - 6,  FEB 10 - 13, FEB 17 - 20 and FEB 24 - 27 

  2020 BLACK CREATIVITY PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

Solomon Adufah, Jean Alexis, Marcus Alleyne, Robert Anderson, Hana Anderson, Malene Barnett, Brianna Beckman, Keith Bevans, Alexander Bostic, Kamau Bostic, Sylvester Bracey, Raymond Broady, Robert Brown, Ian Brundige
Alpha Bruton, Bryan Butler, David Buttram, Jamiah Calvin, Ophelia Chambliss, Andrea Coleman, Stephanie Coleman, Kendall Collins, Keith Conner, Larry Cope, George Crump, Baz Cumberbatch, Michel Delgado, Lenin Delsol, Lessie Venardo Dixon, Richard Duarte Brown, Sura Dupart, Nick Fury, Gary Gee, Liz Gomez, Krystal Grover-Webb, Jonathan Hadnott, Jewel Ham, Jalen Hamilton, Neko Harris, Russel Harris, Lavelle Harris, Clifton Henri, Andrea Hill Fitzgerald, Jendayi Ingram, Malika Jackson, Salome Jaffe, David Johnson-Niari, Jason E. Jones, Keisha Jordan, Barrett Keithley, Brandy Kent, Robert Ketchens, Michael Kirkland, Christine LaRue, Fatima Laster, Blake Lenoir, Jean Lewis, Cindy Lys, Akira Mabon, Nolan McCants, Kwame Mensa-Aborampa, Kaitlin Mikrut, Charles Morrison, Lieutenant Norals IV, Jill Parker-Trotter, Karen Powell, Kenyatta Ray, Angela Redmond, Sarai Redmond, Rebecca Robinson, Cameron Rowe, Rory Scott, Corrine Slade, Yemonja Smalls, Aaron Smith, Tony Smith, Terron Sorrells, Rahmaan Statik, Patricia Stewart, Dorothy Straughter, Matthew Tate, Pearlie Taylor, Joshua Taylor, Raymond Thomas, B’Rael Thunder, Cedric A. Thurman, Cheryl Toles, Jabria Turner, Shahar Caren Weaver, Deborah Whitehead, Sam Williams, Charles Williams, Tania Wineglass-Graham, and Arthur Wright.

For more information or to sponsor tickets for the GALA, contact:
 Tiffany Malone
Arts + Creativity Manager
Science and Integrated Strategies

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
5700 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 753-1765 | http://msichicago.org
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