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Meet Alma Roberts

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alma Roberts.

Hi Alma, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My story as a visual artist started in November 2010. For the last two weeks of that month, I was awakened each morning with the same thought, message, epiphany, voice- whatever it was, urging me to “Pick up a paintbrush and paint with your left hand.” This was repeated 4-5 times each morning for two solid weeks. At the time, I was neither a painter nor left-handed though my deceased Father was a left-handed portraitist. I never knew my Father as an artist or saw any of his artwork. Still, I grew up with the story of him throwing away all of his art supplies and artwork as part of his decision to give up his art in pursuit of a job that would allow him to better support his growing family. I was the youngest of nine siblings, and he made this monumental sacrifice about the time I was born.

So the fact that I was being directed to pick up a paintbrush and paint with my left hand caused great confusion. I spent months retelling the encounter/dream/etc. until February 2011, a friend said, “Alma, what do you have to lose. Pick up a paintbrush and paint with your left hand.” She then bought me oil paints, canvases, a sketchbook, easel, and brushes, and off I went. I painted with my left hand exclusive from 2011-to 2015 and happily stowed each completed paint in my closet. In 2015, I wanted to see what painting with my right hand would produce. The “flood gates” were opened. I painted night and early mornings even as I worked my full-time job. A dear friend (Downtown Kevin Brown) offered me the opportunity to exhibit my work in his restaurant/gallery, which was my first exhibit. I have subsequently had about a dozen exhibits, won national awards, was a featured artist in a solo exhibit at Baltimore City Hall Galleries, became a board member of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture, and became a Commissioner on the Baltimore Public Art Commission. I sell, on average, about 10 paintings per year for about $1,500-$2000 each. I also have a piece of my artwork in the permanent collection of the James E. Lewis Museum of Art at Morgan State University, where I will be the guest artist in the Guest Artist Corner September-December 2022. I was just named Honorable Mention in the national See/Me exhibit “Passion” and will have several of my pieces included in a virtual exhibit in Gallery Arte Azulejo in New York City.

Having completed about 360 paintings in a little over a decade, I am retired from my full-time job as a health care executive and am now a full-time artist and Artrepreneur. I launched Alma Roberts Studio, a dba of Alma Roberts, LLC. Alma Roberts Studio incorporates a home gallery for viewing my original works; it includes an online shop with home goods and commodities imprinted with my original artwork, an electronic Look Book, published and distributed quarterly to collectors and supporters. I also write a series of articles for LinkedIn entitled Artist Insights that give a personal perspective on my journey as an abstract expressionist artist of color. Every morning I go down to my home gallery and stand amid my paintings and remind myself of the miracle of my journey. I remind myself that I am tasked with traveling the road my Father sacrificed to give me a better life. I am fulfilling his dream.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My miraculous journey has been nothing less than amazing. My art pours out of me in such a prolific way. The only struggle I can say is trying to keep up with the pace. I say, “I paint my way through life.” I get comfort, relief, release, joy, and fulfillment from each painting. Any adversity (rejection from an exhibit, not selling a painting at an exhibit, frustration with completing a particular painting, etc.) is so minor in the scope of the blessings I continue to receive.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a fulltime Abstract Expressionist Artist and Activist. I paint abstractions that convey my thoughts and messages on the issues impacting me as a woman of color, senior citizen, and activist who has always been on the frontlines in the battle for equity. I am known for painting unique, one-of-a-kind paintings, each of which has a story and is part of my perspective on life, part of my legacy, and the lessons I want to pass on to those coming behind me. Starting my journey at 62 sets me apart from many of my peers. I bring the wisdom of age, and the organic inspiration of a mystic, magical journey that came out of the blue. I am most proud of every one of my paintings and that I bring joy and meaningfulness to others with my work.

Alright, before we go, can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Most of my exhibits have been group exhibits where multiple artists collaborate to make an entire exhibit work. I also utilize small, mostly Black-owned businesses to assist Alma Roberts Studio in carrying out my company’s work (Web Master, Accountants, Legal Team, Marketing, and Branding firm. and a Business Development Consultant). Folks can support me by attending my exhibits, buying my original art or soon my limited edition prints, advocating for more venues for Black artists and abstract artists, and giving me feedback on my work- let me know what messages and feelings the work conveys. I love hearing from viewers (almaroberts.com).

Contact Info:

  • Website: almaroberts.com
  • Instagram: @almarobertsart
  • Facebook: almarobertsart
  • Twitter: @almarobertsart

Image Credits
head shot: Aisha Butler, photographer artwork: Archival Arts, Inc. Gallery image: Glenwood Jackson, photographer

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