what a wonderful world
live in the open
Canada Goose In Residence with Kimberly Drew Words by Matthew Burgos
Mural by Bianca Nemelc
Artist, Activist and Writer Kimberly Drew
As winter turns to spring in New York City, three artists resurrect the life and vigor of The Big Apple through the Canada Goose In Residence program. For this project, the brand has commissioned three artists to curate various murals around its flagship SoHo store in New York City. It has tapped the author, activist, and critic Kimberly Drew to curate the project, her element and guidance remind the participating artists to set their creative boundaries free. The artists conquer the challenge by fashioning interactive, joyful, and disruptive murals and installations, much like the ambiance and energy of the city they live in. The results encourage anyone who passes by their artworks to pause from the hustle and bustle, fixate their eyes on the nature-inspired creations, and embrace the entrance of the bloom season.
Drew tells Blanc the joy she feels taking part in the project as this season’s curator. “I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Canada Goose to highlight three amazing artists and bring each of their unique styles to the streets of New York. In a city that is known for its art and culture, any opportunity to make art more accessible is always a treat for me,” she says. “I am so invigorated by how each of our artists - COVL, Bianca Nemelc, and Indie 184 - brought their own style to the project. We did not want to over-edit or limit their creative potential, and it is dope to see the final results.”
The interwoven plot of living beings with nature permeates the artists’ narrative: brown figures moving so freely like Mother Earth; messages of hope, freedom, and peace in spray paint and neon colors; and the sun peeking through the wrinkles of lengthy leaves. All of these unfold under the collaborative efforts of the artists and Drew, whose reverence and love for art stems from her upbringing. “I was raised in a family that has always appreciated art. In fact, it was such an integral part of my childhood that I have always been passionate about inviting people to participate in the arts in whatever way is available to them,” she says.
Drew realized her desire to work in the art field after what she considers a life-changing internship at The Studio Museum in Harlem. “After completing their program and learning more about the institution's history, I could not imagine dedicating my energy to anything other than working in service of art and artists,” she says. For Blanc, she shares her perspectives on the future of the art realm drawn from the impact of the health and political climate in the industry in the past years. “The pandemic, the uprisings, and the conversations thereafter have shifted the way that we all view things. I think in many ways artists need the least permission to dream about the future. In a time when so many of us feel overwhelmed and unclear of what the future may hold, art can be a space for world-building and shifting our perspectives on who and what we can be,” she says.
Through her curation, the shining essence of art as a purveyor of discussion and societal undertones and issues takes the center stage, more so through the vibrant expressions of artists from various backgrounds. “I honestly cannot think of a single reason why large brands and corporations would not prioritize uplifting and celebrating marginalized voices,” says Drew. “If you want a diverse customer base, you should be working with a diverse set of staff, ambassadors, and creatives to bring your brand to the global stage.” As one of the heralds and guardians of the art and creative industry, Kimberly Drew has her eyes, mind, and heart planted in continuously amplifying and diffusing the works of art, talents, and skills of diverse people, especially the artists of color and black women creatives.