The Art of Desiree Kelly: Storytelling Through Portraits

Desiree Kelly
photograph of Desiree Kelly in front of mural
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
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Reception: 
5:30 pm
Program: 
6:00 pm
Room: 
Helzberg Auditorium
In Person Event
Online Event

The Library exhibition ‘The Nine’ and Other Works epitomizes the bold, dynamic art of award-winning portraitist and muralist Desiree Kelly.

The Detroit native, whose work has appeared on buses and beer cans, in shoe stores and restaurants, in museums and other public spaces, specializes in a distinctive blend of street art and traditional oil techniques. ‘The Nine’ and Other Works incorporates a series of personality-infused portraits she painted for a Washington Post examination of the diminishing presence of African American players in baseball in 2021. For the Library exhibition, she added striking representations of two of the first female players in the Negro Leagues.

Kelly discusses her style, inspirations, and career in a presentation coinciding with the exhibition, which is on display in the Central Library through August 28. The event is co-sponsored by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Kelly’s art is held in the permanent collections of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Flint Institute of Arts, and other museums and venues and is part of other permanent and temporary collections across the Detroit metropolitan area. Her work has been commissioned by a growing number of private collectors and public entities including Pepsi, Jack Daniels, Converse, and Foot Locker, as well as The Ellen DeGeneres Show and pro basketball’s Detroit Pistons.

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