Ashley Mudge Celebrates Juneteenth, The Women Of Color Expo As Artistic Empowerment
Ashley Mudge is powered by art.
She finds meaning in the upcoming June 17-19 Women Of Color Art Expo (WOCAX) at the downtown lakefront in Columbia, Maryland, and the message of empowerment it conveys.
“When you feel like giving up, push harder. Talk to other women and share experiences. Never be afraid to express your true self,” Mudge said. “As women, we must continue to motivate and inspire each other in order for our voices to be heard through creating. Together, we’re celebrating BIPOC visual artists and entrepreneurs as well as Juneteenth.”
WOCAX is a collaboration of Art Vibez’s founder Marlon Powell and The 3rd’s founder Laura Bacon and will culminate on Juneteenth National Independence Day for African Americans, also known as Black Independence Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day and Jubilee Day.
On June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers enforced the Emancipation Proclamation and freed all remaining slaves in Texas.
“It is important to break barriers in the world and art world — a world predominantly taken by men,” said Mudge, a resident of Silver Spring, Maryland. Her work can also be found on fineartamerica and her facebook page.
“As a minority woman of color, having this platform for us as artists to come together and express ourselves on such a special holiday, helps send a message to the world that we all can be the majority,” she said.
Zenger published the story of Mudge, a self-taught artist with an uplifting and inspiring personal story, in December 2021. Her multidimensional paintings have been the catalyst for a cathartic journey. Creativity has led to a therapeutic and profitable business.
Mudge revealed being troubled by “identity issues, due to my sister and I both having different fathers, and being the only person of color in my family.”
When Mudge was 26, she set out to find her biological father. When she met the man she thought was him, his response was deeply traumatic.
“He told me he knew the day I was born that I wasn’t his daughter. Art is the only thing that gets me out of myself,” said Mudge, who lives with her partner, Kimberly Mazzochi. “My business, Art by Ash, allows me to quiet the noise and transfer everything I feel and think from my head and my heart to my canvas.”
“This will be my third time working with Art Vibez and Marlon Powell. My website, Instagram and Google searches have all increased in followers since releasing part of my story. My website has doubled in views. Sales are derived more from my social-media accounts,” she said.
“Laura Bacon’s nonprofit organization encourages and supports women of color entrepreneurs and creatives. Marlon Powell is a business coach and visual artist, as well as a curator. He has become a mentor and helps keep me in the solution.”
Mudge will display her paintings — “Sunday,” “Khalil,” “What’s Next” and “One Way” — at WOCAX,
“’Sunday’ is a girl doing her hair, listening to music, trying to figure out what she is going to wear on Monday. ‘One Way’ is a car being driven and means that despite any obstacles, I must keep moving forward,” Mudge said.
“’Kahlil’ was my first male model, and my first show in Brooklyn, New York, at the time, which is why I incorporated the Brooklyn Bridge. ‘What’s Next’ is a woman of color living in a country at war, trying to cross the border to freedom.”
Edited by Fern Siegel and Matthew B. Hall