UT alumna and artist Leslie Adams will present an exhibition at the Center for the Visual Arts on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.
The exhibition, “The Handwritten Dreams Project,” will open Friday, June 1, and be on display through Saturday, July 7.
“Drawing is my first love, but I’m infatuated with cursive — with signatures, poetry and long letters from friends — anything written in one’s own hand,” Adams said. “And I love dreams. I love the dreamers of dreams.“A self-portrait, ‘Handwritten Dreams’ celebrates the hopes and aspirations that we, as children and adults, universally share. It is a drawing, installation and interactive work that provides the space and time where viewers can pause, reflect and write their own dreams on paper. Each then pins their hopes to an endlessly growing ‘wall of dreams’ in the symbolically staged 1970s’ classroom that I remember as a child,” she said.
“As a young school girl, I was taught to be curious, inspired to dream, and encouraged to record my dreams in perfect penmanship. It made them real,” Adams said. “I am so fortunate that my dream of becoming an artist came true, and my goal as an artist is to inspire others to believe in possibility.
“Reflecting on the great cursive debate confronting today’s society, ‘Handwritten Dreams’ seamlessly marries the elegance and beauty of line found in both cursive and drawing with the very marks that are the expressions of our individuality and pure imagination.”
In 2016, “Handwritten Dreams” was presented as part of ArtPrize Eight at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. Over 19 days, 196,000 visitors to the museum viewed the work, and approximately 50,000 people recorded their hopes, dreams and aspirations, according to Adams.
“Through the beauty of line — from nearly indecipherable scribbles to precise manuscript writing and elegant cursive — individuals conveyed their dreams for themselves, their families and for our world,” she said. “Subsequently, we are given a time capsule of our current culture. Because the dreams echo our lives. They anticipate our future.”
The artist would like to see the wall of dreams continue to grow. In April, a portion of the project was presented at the Portrait Society of America’s International Art of the Portrait Conference and more dreams were collected.
“I am grateful to the Center for the Visual Arts for inviting me to share the installation,” Adams said. “Before ‘The Handwritten Dreams Project’ travels to other venues throughout the world, I invite you to contribute to the work by taking a moment to share your handwritten dream.”
Adams followed her dream and pursued art. She received a bachelor of fine arts degree from UT in 1989 and in 1990 won the International Collegiate Competition in Figurative Drawing, which was sponsored by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. She was awarded the grand prize, a full tuition scholarship, which enabled her to attend the New York Academy of Art.
Since earning her master of fine arts degree from the academy, Adams has established herself as an eminent Ohio artist. She has been commissioned to paint more than a dozen official portraits for the state of Ohio. In addition to painting the most recent official gubernatorial portraits, she has portrayed many leaders of the Ohio State Senate, House of Representatives and the Supreme Court of Ohio. Adams also has received commissions from universities, corporations and institutions throughout the United States.
The recent years have characterized a significant turning point in Adams’ already successful career. Her major solo exhibition, “Leslie Adams, Drawn From Life,” part of the Toledo Museum of Art’s 2012 Fall Season of Portraiture, received both critical and public acclaim. As the exhibition was drawing to a close, greater recognition followed. Adams was one of 48 artists in the country whose work was selected for inclusion in the celebrated 2013 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. That same year, her work, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl,” was awarded the William F. Draper Grand Prize in the Portrait Society of America’s 15th Annual International Portrait Competition.
The free, public exhibition can be viewed Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, contact contact Brian Carpenter, UT lecturer of art and gallery director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.