How to vaccinate yourself against apathy and indifference

A harsh color portrait of Hazel Bryan in 1957 as she shouts hateful epithets at Elizabeth Eckford, one of the “Little House Nine,” who attempted to desegregate schools in Arkansas three years after the Supreme Court’s 1954 “Brown v. Board of Education” ruling. Hazel’s face is contorted with anger and her skin is chalk white against a bright deep red and yellow background within a red frame that has the same rough texture as dredged up topsoil underfoot.

I am an anti-racist because everyday monsters live among us. …

The Best Path To Your Next Creative Leap Is Through Collaboration, Not Competition

A photograph of a public sculpture featuring three silver metallic human figures striding forward together, hand in hand, tall against the background of a clear blue sky.

While the practice of free market competition makes for a compelling story, it’s not actually how the most enduring creative leaps have been made throughout human history. The real story of explosive growth and sustained development is collaborative, not competitive. Within our communities of creative and business practice as well…

An oil pastel portrait with muted colors depicting a middle-aged African American woman wearing a light blue blouse against a dark black background, created by the author. The expression on the woman’s face is rapturous with resilience, eyes tightly closed, mouth open and her bright white teeth displayed in a shout, as her right hand waves upraised in a blur of movement.

One of the lessons I’ve learned in 2021 is that to move forward, sometimes I must echo the shape I once held. Every human life holds a place in relation to one another. We each have a sentient and spiritual presence that shapes us — that makes us identifiable and…

You aren’t only what you eat…you’re what you practice

A stylized painting of the author as a young boy wearing a brightly colored yellow-orange shirt with a triangular collar that is covered with large red patterned circles. The boy is African American with a terra cotta skin color against a sky blue background. Instead of black hair, the boy’s hair is a cross-hatched and connective network of bright red straight and contoured lines on a bright yellow-green field.

I recently gave a virtual talk to local art students at Henninger High School in the Central New York city of Syracuse to get them thinking as early as possible about where creative habits of mind come from — the kind of habits that will make them effective creators, makers…

I am an anti-racist art educator because racism, its internalized razor wire, and stark social byproducts are still active and visible in the world we walk in. Anti-racist educators must be just as active and visible.

I am an anti-racist art educator because racism now accuses anti-racists of being “racists”…

A few ideas and events converged into one train of thought starting on the Saturday evening of March 21, 2020 just a couple of days after winter had ended, as my wife and I first started hunkering down in earnest in Central New York. …

Who signifies “cancel culture” as “cancel culture”? It does, of course. A culture that has been canceling other cultures for centuries is well-practiced not only at such cancellations but — like Keyser Söze, the self-mythologizing antagonist of the 1995 film The Usual Suspects — it is also adept at cancelling…

Kids know when a promise has been broken. You can see it in their eyes. At some point during my elementary schooling, I became convinced that the Pledge of Allegiance we were expected to recite each morning became a lie as it passed through my lips. I did not believe…

I was once with a group of undergraduate classmates on a lithography class excursion to the Museum of Modern Art (called the MoMA for short) to see a special collection of prints on a day when the museum was closed to the public. We entered glass doors to the grand…

This is Part 2 of an open letter written on June 8, 2020 to my field of fellow creatives — a letter challenging all artists, designers, and craftspersons, alongside educators and creative leaders at all levels of instruction, to come together in shaping an effective anti-racist agenda for the 21st…

James Haywood Rolling Jr

Creativity Educator | Artist | Antiracist | Counter-narrative Crusader | Rebel with a Cause | Author, “Growing Up Ugly” available @ https://tinyurl.com/4zs6de28

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