Here are some of the artists we are proud to work with.

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"Willie" James Clark

Willie James Clark (aka “Bae Bae”) was born in Greensboro, NC to a single mom of 6 children (later to become 10)! His mother served time in jail for assault and Willie was placed in a foster home at six years old. Willie began to steal at an early age and dropped out of school in ninth grade. He only had one job, and has been in and out of jail for most of his life. He had a son with a longtime partner but was unable to see him until his son was 7 years old, when his brother, James, who is his advocate, made it possible to meet him. James has also supplied Willie with money for art supplies and visited him while he was incarcerated. It wasn’t until Willie was 40 years old that he was diagnosed with mental illness (Paranoid Schizophrenia, which runs in the family). He was also diagnosed with throat cancer. He is currently “on vacation” (his family joking calls it when he’s out of jail), living in Columbus, Ohio, dealing with his mental illness and cancer. As a prolific artist, he would love to open an art studio, if he doesn’t go “home” (to jail) again.

Amy Dinsmore

Amy attributes her artistic influence to her grandmother, who gave her a scrap box that she and Amy and Amy’s mother kept full of “tidbits” treasures with which to create. This grandmother would supply her with “real” art materials and encouraged her free expression on these special summer visits of her childhood. After struggling for many years with physical and psychological issues, Amy renewed her former passion for making art from odds and ends, finding that it helps her to cope with her fragmented emotions. She has developed a style that combines collage technique with sculptural use of vintage, found objects.

Amy Milam

Amy Milam was born in Lafayette, Indiana and has lived in Chattanooga since 2008. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in English literature. She has worked as an administrator in a variety of settings, but creative expression is something in which she has always been interested. She feels lucky to have found H*Art Gallery as a place to explore her artistic expression, noting that art affords her the opportunity to engage socially with others in a dynamic and unique way. She loves working alongside such a “beautiful group of diverse students and artists,” here in our open studio sessions. She considers herself to be a conceptual artist, and enjoys working in paper collage and mixed media. She hopes to be an inspiration to others through her work.

Ana Martinez

Ana Martinez was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico. She learned to crochet and cross-stitch dresses and purses at 8 years old. Ana and her family have lived in Chattanooga for 13 years now. Language being a barrier, she can connect and do her craft as a source of income. Her pieces are 100 % handmade and uniquely beautiful.

Ayda Castro

The Castro family was displaced from Colombia for political reasons. They were refugees in Ecuador, where Ayda and Sara met a woman named Paquita Pluas. She taught them the art of jewelry and to work with the tagua. It is an exotic seed that only grows in the Amazon. They are now refugees in the USA. Ayda, along with her husband, Nestor, are working hard to provide for their three children and grandson.

Barbara Brander "Bob"

Barbara “Bob” Brander was born and raised in Chattanooga. After a divorce, her existence turned into one of struggle and poverty that is continuing to this day. When a friend introduced her to art, it transformed her life. Barbara has an affinity for the 1920’s Parisian scene. Her charcoal renditions are unique and visually stunning.

Benjamin C. Brown

Benjamin C. Brown was raised in Chattanooga, TN. He has struggled with mental health issues since childhood, and is also a recovering addict, who used drugs to self-medicate through his struggles. Fortunately, has made art as long as he can remember, and now focuses on creating to help him cope. Although he is currently homeless and struggling to get back on his feet, he has found a new hope in making and selling his art through H*Art Gallery. In his words, “Art helps me see and connect with my soul.”

Charles Douglas Mundy

Doug grew up in Nashville. He got his engineering degree from UTK and moved to Chattanooga. He pursued his career and married a Red Bank schoolteacher. After 12 years of living the dream, his wife and mother both passed away suddenly from natural causes. Unfortunately, his subsequent traffic offenses landed him in jail. His pro-active textbook studies and pencil sketch artwork aid him in his recovery and his hope for a successful future.

Clay Cofer

“Clay” Cofer was born in Chattanooga, and raised in Hixson, TN. From an early age, Clay always loved to draw. He found everything he examined underneath the water to be beautiful. That love for the mysteries that one can find beneath the surface kept his spirit alive. After trying different fields of study amidst dealing with mental health stuggles, Clay began to paint as a way to cope with his restless mind. Clay comes to H*Art Gallery through Aim Center. His mission for his artwork is to provoke thought, and encourage others to cultivate their imagination.

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