Windows to the Soul
April 2021 - Sept 30, 2021
Windows to the Soul is a series of intimate murals created by artists who participated in the downtown Madison “mural eruption” in the spring of 2020. These commissioned pieces invite each artist to offer a personal story or express a more closely-held self-image allowing for vulnerability and transparency. The works painted on salvaged windows in different sizes, shapes and styles. The see-through nature of the windows supports the theme of transparency while also allowing for a sustained connection between outer and inner spaces, physically and metaphorically.
The project was initiated by Threshold and is administered by Arts Wisconsin (a 501C3) as part of the Art at the Threshold project. It is supported by a generous gift from the Human Family Foundation and by Efrat Livny, Threshold founder. For more information on making tax deductible donations to support this project contact email@example.com. Contributions made by July 30, 2021 will be matched up to $5,000.
Alana Caire, Amira Caire, Rodrigo Carapia, Tony Catteruccia, Alexandra Gee-Lewis, Keysha Mabra, Cassy Marzette, Danielle Mielke, Carrie Morgan, and Sapphina Roler.
I grew up in a family of artists. My siblings and I all have artistic skills, musically, visually, physically, and many other facets. Most days as a toddler, I would spend my time drawing, creating or fixing something, and found great joy in doing so. I was nonchalant to the skills I eventually developed over time, because I thought drawing to be fun, not a job. As time passed, I practiced on every piece of paper I could find, hence investing in several sketch pads to fill. I’ve tried watercolor, which isn’t my strength, and acrylic painting, which is. But I find myself more able to focus and produce a great piece when freehand sketching.
My window piece is supposed to represent a black woman in a fairy tail, as the main protagonist. Many Disney films, especially the original ones, have often portrayed white women as princesses, which had and continues to have a negative impact on young children of color. They see these women on screen looking beautiful, and eventually marry a prince in the end. However, I wanted to change the narrative, and create my own version. Here we have me, a young black woman, obviously content with myself, comfortable in my surroundings. I don’t have long, flowing hair, but a more natural afro. I am supposed to be strolling down a path of flowery trees (I decided not to do the background because it would take too much time and I had set a personal time limit). The dress is a royal blue with decorative flowers. I chose blue because it represents me—sophisticated, honest and trustworthy. I chose lilies as the flowers above, because they’re one of my favorites—they represent devotion. Often times, fairytales show a woman in detriment who end up falling in love and depending on the prince to save them. I don’t have a prince, because I am devoted to myself. I personally don’t feel a need for anyone. I am a solitary person, I work best alone, and I’m content being single. If I could give this piece a slogan, it would be “I’m my own Queen in my own fairytale.” I want to motivate black children to see themselves as divine, because they are. I want young girls and women to take care of themselves before they look for love in someone else. Without self-love and self-respect, we cannot truly love others.
Amira Caire is an emerging digital and traditional painter, illustrator, and designer based in Madison, WI. Her passion for art began at 6 years old when her parents would come home with art supplies to help her stay productive and find her interests. Over the years, she’s honed her skills and turned what used to be a hobby into a career.
Amira’s expressiveness and love for change and freedom inspires her artistic and creative process. She creates whatever comes to her mind, and likes to experiment with many art materials to broaden her skills and experience. Her art consists of various styles, themes, color palettes, and mediums. Although digital art is her go-to, she also loves to create traditional sketches, mixed media, acrylic, and watercolor paintings.
In June 2020, just a few months after she decided to post her art publicly, Amira took a leap and created murals commissioned by the City of Madison which helped jump start her career and her decision to take her talent seriously. Since then, she has completed commissions for local organizations and businesses including Tantra Wellness & Yoga, the Overture Center, Bridge Lake Point Waunona Neighborhood Center, Linville Architects LLC, Threshold, and LunArt Festival. Moving forward, she is determined to grow her portfolio and work to become a full-time freelance artist.
For the project theme “Windows to the Soul”, I wanted to show the connection between me and the meaning of “iridescence”: varying in color when seen from different angles. When I think of that meaning, I think of something that is never specific and changes as it moves through life. There is no better word that I can relate to more when it comes to how I see myself. For this piece I wanted to connect the meaning to the theme of the project and show the woman opening her chest, revealing her iridescent soul.
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Alexandra found her love for art when she was a kid: it was a safe place where she could be present and express herself in ways that words never seemed to be enough. What began as an escape became the very thing that grounds her still today.
She uses her art to capture the hearts of the viewers through bold designs & messaging: sometimes pairing with poetry. She has been given a voice and God has called her to connect with the human experience through art.
She is grateful to bring what is in her: out! Through this wonderful project.
The simplicity of this piece represents the simplicity of the answer we all want to know.
"Secret sauce"—has become slang for that je ne sais quoi that makes something successful.
So What's the secret sauce we need to be pouring over racial injustices we're seeing daily in this world?
Is the secret sauce.
It's not a political problem, it's a heart problem. Until hearts are changed it ultimately doesn't matter who's fired, who's hired, what's defunded, what program starts. Until there's an overflow of LOVE in our hearts: we will see the same history repeating itself.
Love...is searching your heart and facing the evil residing in yourself
Love is being a vocal ally, wrestling with your own emotions and seeking how to combat your own complacency
Before asking your black brothers and sisters what to do.
Because we all have the answer, it's somewhere residing inside all of us: are we going to squeeze it out?
With over 15 years of visual art experience, Cassandra Marzette (Cassy), is an artist, writer, and creative director. Marzette wrote and directed her first full-length play, Palindromes/If Walls Could Talk (2013), co-directed and produced a one-woman show I Can’t Live Like This Anymore! with Lilada Gee, and wrote, produced, and performed an original ione-woman show, A Conversation with Ashes, to a sold-out audience (2017). She is currently writing her screenplay, The Sea Witch. Marzette was commissioned to create a mural combining visual art and poetry on State Street in early June and completed an artist in residence with Threshold August 2020.
As a nearly 30 year old woman, it has taken some time for me to come to terms with the power of my voice and my body as a temple of life. In the past I was self-destructive, physically and mentally, and over time have come to love myself more, breaking from the chains of self-hate toward self-love. This piece represents the move toward renewal and the cycle of self love.
Danielle Mielke is a 19-year old artist currently studying Art Education at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danielle’s enthusiasm for art emerged during her childhood as she filled her sketchbooks with graphite portraits of family and friends. Since then, she has embraced her love of art as her true passion.
Specializing in portraiture, Danielle executes her visions traditionally with acrylic paint, charcoal, and pencil. Being a product of her surroundings, her community and personal experiences are the focal point for her creative inspiration.
Danielle has spent her summer  creating murals commissioned by the City of Madison with fellow artist, Amira Caire, to create positive imagery for the black community in response to Black Lives Matter movement. Shedding light on the wrongful deaths of Black youth such as Tony Robinson, Elijah McClain, and Oluwatoyin Satou, Danielle works to call attention to the injustices faced by members of her community.
The journey towards self-discovery requires self-awareness. In defining oneself, one must dissect the very essence of their being. A theme rampant in the piece, as the artist works to illustrate a story of rebirth. The young woman acts as a symbol of uncertainty as she embarks on her journey of womanhood. Similar to the depiction of the snake, she must too shed all pre-existing layers to fully embody all that she may be. Specifically, her soul.
Rodrigo Carapia is a self taught artist who originates from Mexico City.
He first began with street art, which allowed him to experiment his art on bigger scales. When he moved to the United States he began to perfect his art on canvas and paper. Once his brush touches the canvas the work he portrays becomes an epitome of his rich Mexa culture. Now, as an artist and an activist Mr. Carapia uses his work as a form of self expression and resistance through offering art workshops in schools, juvenile correctional centers, which has given the youth a form of expression and a sense of freedom. His work has also been donated to grass root organizations that help the undocumented community- and workers unions. You might spot his art around Wisconsin in murals, restaurants and show cases.
The colors that are always in my heart, memory and soul, are colors I saw as a child in the dresses of the working women around me. They represent so much history. They are the colors of love, sacrifice and pride.
Sapphina is a painter from Madison, Wisconsin. She has experience with painting large scale community murals with Dane Arts Mural Arts, volunteer work with Walls Dogs. She mainly works with acrylic paints, mixed media and collage but is also exploring new media like oil paints, found material, and printmaking to incorporate into her current practice. Sapphina is motivated by her mother who is a mural artist and her late grandfather, Solomon Ireine Wangboje who was a Nigerian born artist and professor. Their work and legacy continually inspires her and her work as a third generation artist. She is interested in exploring painterly collages, themes of religion and sexuality and creating a sense of belonging in the world. She is currently working on pieces based on dreams and the desire to escape, imagining an idealized place of belonging and comfort for herself. She is currently an art student at the Rhode Island School of Design and is majoring in Painting.
For me this piece was a lot about being vulnerable. It’s a self portrait. The hands up have a double meaning. The first being a surrender, but the hands are also pressing against the glass and looking out the window, at the same time letting the viewer in. There’s vulnerability in letting people know you, especially as an artist. I’m a very emotional person and I want the viewer to feel those emotions with me when they look at this piece.
Life in home town, Madison, WI has definitely nurtured my love for the arts and people. I come from a deeply rooted family of 6 generations of multi-cultured and multi-talented, artists, musicians, educators, health care workers, government officials, manufacturers, agriculturalists, tradesman and spiritual practitioners, all who have shown me that art is the product of ones mastery of their passions. I give honor to my ancestors to whom are part of the fabric of my story and life experiences.
All Roles family
Currently working on my mobile art studio to travel with.
My work "Peace & Joy" submitted for exhibit, "Windows to the Soul," is inspired by my belief that the most important factor in change is love. Love for self and love in relationships. My work seeks to invoke manifestation of growth and development of relationships.
My work can be found on Facebook Carrie Morgan Cthyself Design
Anthony (KIDTONY) Catteruccia was priginally born in the Milwaukee area. He now resides in Madison. He is a Tattoo artist/visual artist. His art consists of murals, graffiti styles. He is a father to 3.
The opportunity that was provided from such a tragic event, to me symbolizes rarity and possibility and turning something very negative into something positive. It felt like when the opportunity came about it was surreal and I felt through fate chosen and blessed to have been requested to participate. I felt it was an unlocking of creative potential as well as setting new bars to the sizes of my paintings. It was a moment of truth for myself and around the world. This painting embodies the emotion and drive behind such a rare opportunity to be taken seriously. It portrays an image of a brain storm being released and what can flourish from it. I feel my momentum just beginning in less tragic events. I strive to remember the feelings I had which started it all from there. Nothing is impossible, and if you see a moment, seize it.
Keysha Monique Mabra
Keysha is an artist native to Madison, Wisconsin born in 1980. With a life influenced by world travel and residency overseas, a B.A. in Theatre and Drama from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008); and tragedies and victories of various forms, she is compelled to devote her life to the creation of art geared towards the healing of one’s self-perception and ability to empathize with the life experiences of others. Her art aims to evoke a positive, and spiritually uplifting essence for the sake of creating positive thought patterns and memories.
Like birds in flight, we soar through our lives finding nourishment from the environment upon which we land, we build our nests where we feel a sense of comfort and safety, and we adapt to our surroundings. Though we may migrate from place to place, and carry around remnants of our previous “home” we can choose how to incorporate that new bit into our lives. Will we use it as an educational tool to allow for others to learn about our ‘new bit’?
Like the changing seasons, we are always morphing into different forms of ourselves, becoming more of what we yearn for, or more of what others want for us to be for their benefit. The beauty of second chances is that, if we are so fortunate, we can always learn from our mistakes, and continue moving forward to shed more love and light upon ourselves and upon this ever-changing and ever-mysterious world.
This piece speaks to my battles over the years with my spiritual identity having been raised in the Baptist Christian faith, while being blessed and cursed with a wildly vivid imagination and a tendency towards independence from the standard rules. Always running from meeting my true self, I am finally learning to allow the seasonal changes to shape me while I take the time to trust my senses to teach me how I am meant to grow.