TimelineGet InvolvedNominate a History Maker
 
Home | ArtMakers | Willie Cole
Profession
Favorites
Color: orange and green together
Food: sunflower seeds
Quote: It doesn't matter when you get on the bus, just when you get off.
Season: winter
Birthplace
Somerville, New Jersey
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 02/03/2017

Sculptor Willie Cole was born on January 3, 1955 in Somerville, New Jersey. In 1958, he moved to Newark, New Jersey where he attended art classes at the Newark Museum, and later attended the Arts High School of Newark. Cole went on to receive his B.F.A degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Cole continued his art education through attending classes at the Art Students League of New York.

After graduation, Cole worked as a freelance artist and graphic designer. In 1988, he completed his first major art installation, Ten Thousand Mandellas. The installation led to his first major gallery show at Franklin Furnace Gallery in New York in 1989. The following year, Cole serves at the artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 1997, Cole created the piece Stowage, which secured him a one person show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Cole had a number of one person shows follow, including a show at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in 2001. In 2010, an exhibition show of his work took place at the James Gallery of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In 2013, Complex Conversations: Willie Cole Sculptures and Wall Work opened at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, before travelling across the country.

Cole has received many awards for his work as an artist, including the Penny McCall Foundation Grant in 1991, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant in 1995, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in 1996, the David C. Driskell Prize in 2006, and Timehri Award for Leadership in the Arts in 2009. In 2004, Cole received the Lamar Dodd Fellowship at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Cole served as an artist-in-residence at several institutions, including the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, Washington, the Contemporary in Baltimore, Maryland, the Capp Street Project in San Francisco, California, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Cole lives in New Jersey.

Willie Cole was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 3, 2017.

Speaker Bureau Notes: