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Tyamica Mabry selected as BIPOC Artist-in-Residence at Eno Arts Mill

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Photo courtesy of Tyamica Mabry.

For the past few years, self-taught artist Tyamica Mabry has been honing her artistic style, which includes painting flowers and bold faces, from her house. For the next year, she will be moving her work to a private, free studio in Eno Arts Mill as the second annual BIPOC Artist-in-Residence.

The BIPOC Artist-in-Residence program began last year with the aim to support people of color in the art community. The program is fully underwritten by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.

Completed by the Orange County Arts Commission in 2021, the Eno Arts Mill works to amplify and connect the creative community of Orange County. Director of the Orange County Arts Commission, Katie Murray, credited the inspiration for the residency program to the growing size of the community and the rising cost of living.

“It’s pushing a lot of people out of our communities that can’t afford to live or work here,” Murray said.

She said that people and artists of color are impacted by this issue at a higher rate. 

With 16 studios at the Mill, Murray said that the goal was to not only offer the space to those who needed it, but also to those who could bring their talent and creativity to the community.

“We see it as a two way relationship for sure,” Murray said.

Mabry will conclude her residency with a month-long exhibit of her work surrounding a theme. The rest of her time in the studio will be spent improving her chosen medium of acrylic and oil painting.

Mabry said that she has begun the residency with her familiar subjects, though she said she wants to expand into landscapes, adding her own flavor and style. 

She said that talking with people about her art and artistic process through her residency has helped the way she goes about her creativity and has grown her confidence.

Mabry still works a corporate job, and when the pandemic hit, she had to set up her office in her art room, invading that space. 

“I’m in here, eight hours a day on the computer,” she said. “So, spending the rest of the night in here trying to create artwork — the mood in the room changed.” 

The residency has given Mabry a dedicated space to create and leave everything else outside. 

“I call it my safe haven,” she said. “My space away from everything.”

In addition to painting in acrylics and oils, Mabry makes earrings, clothing, purses and murals.

The 2023 BIPOC Artist-in-Residence, TJ Mundy, was involved in the selection process this year after expressing to the program that it would make sense to include them as an additional panelist of color in the decision.

“I’m glad that I was able to give something back so that they could make it even more amazing for Tyamica,” they said

As the first resident, Mundy was able to offer feedback on the program, providing suggestions on what Eno Mills could provide for Mabry. 

“Reading her submission was all the more reason for her to have that space,” Mundy said. “I think she’s already doing so many amazing things with it and she’s definitely the perfect person to be in that studio.”

@dthlifestyle | lifestyle@dailytarheel.com

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article included unclear wording regarding the makeup of the organization’s selection panel. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.

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