Friday, July 30, 2021

He will not be forgotten!


This hero is Juan Elias Navarro Vaillant from Santiago de Cuba
This hero is Juan Elias Navarro Vaillant from Santiago de Cuba. He was arrested on July 11th during the historic Cuban uprising against their Communist dictators and is currently on a hunger strike against his Marxist oppressors. This hero will not be forgotten!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

She will not be forgotten!


Dailén Ramírez Quintana from Santiago de Cuba was arrested during the historic Cuban uprising. She will not be forgotten!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Isla Llorona

CUBA - ISLA LLORONA - 1978 Oil on board by Campello

This painting was done in 1978 while I was a student at the University of Washington School of Art (1977-1981). On this piece, painted are the words:

"La mar, testigo de mi ansiedad, las veces que me ha visto llorar, cuando otro hijo se me va."

The words in Spanish translate to:

"The sea, witness to my anxiety, the times that it has seen me cry when another son leaves me".

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

She will not be forgotten!

Daimelin Abreu Rodríguez from Matanzas was arrested during the
historic Cuban uprising. She will not be forgotten!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Mujertrees from 1979

A nice lady from Washington state sent me these photos of a "Mujertrees" print that she bought out there at an auction - a lesson here for conservation framing! Lack thereof! 

I most likely sold this work at the Pike Place Market in Seattle between 1977-1981 - since this is a 1979 print... most likely a "market" print.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

She will not be forgotten!

Melissa Castellano has been arrested during the historic Cuban uprising against their Marxist dictators and her family has not been able to see her since. She will not be forgotten!

#SOSCuba #11J


Saturday, July 24, 2021

She will not be forgotten!


Deysi Del Cueto from Havana was arrested during the historic Cuban uprising. She will not be forgotten!
Deysi Del Cueto from Havana was arrested during the historic Cuban uprising. She will not be forgotten!

Friday, July 23, 2021

She will not be forgotten!


Katherine Martín from Regla was arrested on the first day of the historic Cuban uprising together with her sister Mariam and their mother Mayra Taquechel. They are all still in prison and they will not be forgotten!
Katherine Martín from Regla was arrested on the first day of the historic Cuban uprising together with her sister Mariam and their mother Mayra Taquechel. They are all still in prison and they will not be forgotten!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

She will not be forgotten!

Lázara Hernández from Havana was arrested on the first day of the historic Cuban uprising on July 11th and is still behind bars and her family has not been allowed to communicate with her. She will not be forgotten!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Prizewinners for the Phillips' Invitational Show

About 1,300 works of art were submitted for review for the ongoing Phillips Collection invitational show Inside Outside, Upside Down, and about seventy works were chosen by the jurors, Elsa Smithgall (Senior Curator, The Phillips Collection), Renée Stout (DC artist and guest curator of the exhibition), Phil Hutinet (publisher of the local news source East City Art), and Abigail McEwan (Associate Professor of Latin American Art at the University of Maryland). I am proud and honored to have been one of the chosen artists – thank you to the jurors.

The jurors awarded the First Prize to Dominick Rabrun’s work titled Dr. LaSalle, The Spider Queen, and Me, a 2021 digital mixed-media video installation. The Second Prize went to Kristina Penhoet’s installation fiber piece titled How Many More? and Honorable Mentions went to Desmond Beach’s fabric and paper work titled #SayTheirNames 2, to Marta Pérez García’s Your Hand, a molded cotton handmade paper and stitching work with yarn, and to Richard L. Williams’ touching photograph titled Claudette, Roman and Rashard – February 2021.

Constant readers know something about me and jurors -- I love to re-review shows and see if I agree or disagree with their choices. Art is a very subjective thing and artists must all have thick skins.

My choice for Best in Show – not just First Prize – would have been Werllayne Nunes’ gigantic oil on panel painting titled Us. The work vibrates with happiness and power and reaches deep into every child’s memories as well as delivering a powerful social message.

Werllayne Nunes, US, 2021, Oil on linen panel, 30 × 60 × 2 1/2 in.,
Werllayne Nunes, US,
2021, Oil on linen panel, 30 × 60 × 2 1/2 in

Judith Peck is one of the DMV’s painting superstars – her technical skills are almost supernatural and her breath-taking ability to infuse her work with psychological power legendary. Her painting titled State Collapse, depicting a young woman in bed, is able to transmit fear, anxiety, and angst and summarize 2020 in one gorgeous work of art. She gets my First Prize award.

Second Prize goes to Carol Antezana’s sensitive portrait photograph titled Las Gringas. She writes about this work:

“Las Gringas is a photographic self-portrait analyzing the balance between being both Bolivian and a first-generation American amid political turmoil and uprisings in both countries. Disagreements about politics have been a specter for many families and the differences are ones of morality, core values, and character, creating tension and division. I was always taunted by my family for being “una gringa” because I cannot speak Spanish perfectly, yet there was no importance in keeping our Indigenous language, Quechua, alive. As a child of immigrant parents, the act of balancing, adopting, and assimilating cultures can be daunting; there are deeply rooted racial double standards in both countries. Through redefining my identity, I am striving to decolonize my mind—my attempt at breaking the intergenerational trauma in my family.”

Carol Antezana - Las Gringas
Carol Antezana - Las Gringas

Honorable Mention goes to Cathy Abramson’s oil painting titled Waiting for Takeout (to go), another cool work which captured the Covidian Age perfectly! 

Cathy Abramson’s oil painting titled Waiting for Takeout (to go
Cathy Abramson - Waiting for Takeout (to go)

I also like Aaron Maier-Carretero’s somewhat disturbing enormous painting titled not in front of the kids. The palpable, hidden violence is terrifying in the work.

Aaron Maier-Carretero - not in front of the kids
Aaron Maier-Carretero - not in front of the kids

Congrats to all the prizewinners! And to my prizewinners!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Phillips Collection and the DMV

As most artists in the DMV know by now, the Phillips Collection’s call for area artists to submit artwork for Inside Outside, Upside Down, a juried invitational show (currently on view through September 12), where the museum invited artists of the Greater Washington area to submit recent artwork that “addresses the unprecedented events of the past year” was and is the talk of the visual arts community for the last few weeks.

The call was part of the museum’s 100th anniversary celebration, and according to the Phillips' news release continues “founder Duncan Phillips‘s commitment to present, acquire, and promote the work of local artists.”

About 1,300 works of art ranging from paintings, to sculptures, videos, drawings, etc. were submitted for review, and about seventy works were chosen by the jurors, Elsa Smithgall (Senior Curator, The Phillips Collection), Renée Stout (DC artist and guest curator of the exhibition), Phil Hutinet (publisher of the local news art source East City Art), and Abigail McEwan (Associate Professor of Latin American Art at the University of Maryland). 

Phillips Collection’s Inside Outside, Upside Down

I am proud and honored to have been one of the chosen artists – Muchas thank yous to the jurors!

Several of the DMV area blue chip artists were selected, including megablue chip artists like Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Kate Kretz, Judith Peck, and others – all with immense artistic pedigree, huge exhibition histories and a proven and deep international presence.

A lot of new artists – at least new to me – were also chosen, which is always a great sign of a well-curated exhibition; kudos to the jurors for the internal mental amplitude to select work based on visual impression rather than recognizing a name or presence.

What caught my eye - other than the many great works in the show, was this:

“After an extraordinarily difficult year that has shaken the world, we feel it is important to join with our entire region to celebrate human resiliency, and especially the strength of artists and the arts,” said Vradenburg Director and CEO Dorothy Kosinski. “Duncan Phillips hosted this type of exhibition annually from 1935 to 1950, and we are proud to continue this tradition to support our talented community.”

Shall I repeat that?

“Duncan Phillips hosted this type of exhibition annually from 1935 to 1950, and we are proud to continue this tradition to support our talented community.”

Wait... whaaaat? 

Why did the Phillips stop? OK - I don't care --- what I do care about and what I hope the Phillips will do, is to re-start that initiative so that  Inside Outside, Upside Down, is not a 2021 anomaly, but the first of annual local area shows like Duncan Phillips organized for 15 years!

The ball is on your court Phillips!

The showcased artists below - and see the digital catalog of the show here.

Cathy Abramson

Simone Agoussoye

Maremi Andreozzi

Carol Antezana

Desmond Beach

Julia Bloom

Michael Booker

Kimberly Brammer

Nikki Brugnoli

Florencio Campello a.k.a. Lenny

Carlos Carmonamedina

Sandra Chen Weinstein

Peter Cizmadia

Wesley Clark

Dominick Cocozza

Robin Croft

Sora DeVore

Sarah Dolan

Mike Dowley

Nekisha Durrett

Tae Edell

Bria Edwards

Kate Fleming

Chawky Frenn

Amelia Hankin

Michael Hantman

Leslie Holt

Michael Janis

Jane Kell

Jean Jinho Kim

Katherine Knight

Ara Koh


Gary Kret

Kate Kretz

Catherine Levinson

Kirsty Little

Kim Llerena

Aaron Maier-Carretero

Timothy Makepeace

David Mordini

Barbara Muth

Werllayne Nunes  

Zsudayka Nzinga

Jennifer O’Connell

John Pan

Judith Peck

Shedrick Pelt

Kristina Penhoet

Marta Pérez García

Lydia Peters

Junko Pinkowski

Dominick Rabrun

Mojdeh Rezaeipour

Marie Ringwald

Janathel Shaw

Joseph Shetler

Nicolas F. Shi

Tim Tate

Julio Valdez

Jessica Valoris

Ian White

Richard L. Williams Jr. 

Colin Winterbottom

Monday, July 19, 2021

Educating Nikole Hannah-Jones

New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the leader of that paper's controversial 1619 Project recently showed a spectacular lack of background knowledge on the Cuban dictatorship's well-documented racist history and abuses of its black population by her statement that If you want to see the most equal, multiracial democ … it’s not a democracy — the most equal, multiracial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba,” and then proceeding to cite socialism as her reason to make the statement.

Ms. Hannah-Jones' rosy-eyed view of the Marxist dictatorship's oppression of its citizens, especially its black citizens not only reveal loads about her own political leanings, but also serves as a brilliant example of suspicious lack of research skills about a subject as widely discussed as Cuba's oppressive and racist government.

Had Ms. Hannah-Jones - who visited Cuba in 2008 - bothered to look past her clear admiration for the Marxist government, and bothered to take a quick tour of the facts, she would have discovered that much has been written and documented about racism in Cuba, and it was even one of the earliest subjects addressed by the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson upon his arrival to the DMV a few decades ago from his various Latin American postings.

In his article a couple of decades ago, Cuba Begins to Answer Its Race Question, Robinson, also clearly and openly a very extreme left-wing oriented writer, tried hard to find excuses for the dictatorship, but nonetheless admits that:
Academics say that black Cubans are failing to earn university degrees in proportion to their numbers--a situation to which Castro has alluded publicly. The upper echelons of the government remain disproportionately white, despite the emergence of several rising black stars. And while perceptions are difficult to quantify, much less prove true or false, many black Cubans are convinced that they are much less likely than whites to land good jobs--and much more likely to be hassled by police on the street, like Cano's husband, in a Cuban version of "racial profiling."
But how about some Cubans inside Cuba discussing the subject?
In primary [Cuban] education, skin color is not mentioned," ... If we are still living in a society where white people have the power, and we don't mention color in education, we are in practice educating [Cuban] children to be white.

Cuban history as we teach it is a disgrace, because it is predominantly white history, and explaining the role of black people and mulattoes in building this society and its culture is not given its due importance.

Esteban Morales
University of Havana
Centre for the Study of the Hemisphere and the United States
A lot of hopes have been pinned by many people (who know little about Cuba and the repressive nature of its government) on President Obama's monumental decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with the unfortunate Caribbean island prison of Cuba; but first another Cuban quote: carry on "hiding" the issue [of racism in Cuba] would lead black people to think that "they belong to another country, and that there are two Cuba’s as there were in the 19th century, a black Cuba and a white one."

Roberto Zurbano
Casa de las Américas publishing house
And thus, it is curious to me that in his attempt to re-establish diplomatic ties, our socially conscious President (and his cadre of advisors) back then also - like Ms. Hannah-Jones - appeared to know little or nothing about the way that Afro-Cuban citizens are treated in their own country.

In reference to the President's visit to Cuba, 
Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, an associate professor of Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures at the University of Connecticut and a scholar at Harvard University, and writing in Ms. Hannah-Jones own newspaper, noted in the New York Times that  
“The images of the meetings, the agreements, they’re all shameful for many black Cubans — I’m including myself in this — because it’s difficult to feel represented.
Was the projected flow of American tourists expected to help black Cubans in a pre-COVID Cuba? Roberto Zurbano, a Cuban expert in Afro-Cuban identity, race and literature based out of Havan wrote in his 2013 New York Times article that:
Most remittances from abroad — mainly the Miami area, the nerve center of the mostly white exile community — go to white Cubans. They tend to live in more upscale houses, which can easily be converted into restaurants or bed-and-breakfasts — the most common kind of private business in Cuba. Black Cubans have less property and money, and also have to contend with pervasive racism. Not long ago it was common for hotel managers, for example, to hire only white staff members, so as not to offend the supposed sensibilities of their European clientele.
Zurbano was subsequently punished by his Marxist government for daring to express that opinion on the pages of Ms. Hannah-Jones employing newspaper. Because that's how Communists roll!

That "not long ago" is still the case, as anyone who has been to Cuba recently can testify to and which Ms. Hannah-Jones could clearly see during her 2008 visit to the island - it is very rare to see a black face in any of Havana's "tourist only" hotels and nearby beaches. Discussing those lucrative jobs, Yusimí Rodríguez López, an Afro-Cuban independent journalist, said in a 2016 New York Times article that there were job listings in Revolico — sometimes called Cuba’s underground Craigslist — “where they say they only want whites.”

In the same NYT article we read:
“They talk a lot here about discrimination against blacks in the United States. What about here?” said Manuel Valier Figueroa, 50, an actor, who was in the park on Monday. “If there’s a dance competition, they’re going to choose the woman who is fair-skinned with light, good hair. If there’s a tourism job, the same.”

He added: “Why are there no blacks managing hotels? You don’t see any blacks working as chefs in hotels, but you see them as janitors and porters. They get the inferior jobs.”
One would hope that Ms. Hannah-Jones' exploration of Cuba, a nation with one of the world's worst human rights records, where Amnesty International has been denied access to (except to that bit of Cuba where the Guantanamo Naval Base is located); a nation where gay people were once given lobotomies to "cure" them; and where HIV+ Cubans were detained and segregated in guarded colonies away from the general public, could at least have educated her on the disturbing status of blacks in their own island nation.

Fact: Twice as many African slaves were brought to Cuba than to the United States... twice!

And what really bugs me, in my own pedantic hell, is how often historically and socially clueless American academics, journalists, activists, etc. make spectacularly ignorant statements - as Ms. Hannah-Jones did - about the government of one of the world's most racist dictatorships (a government which talks a talk of equality while walking a walk of institutionalized racism against its own black population) without even mentioning the issue of racism... or is Ms. Hannah-Jones' case praising the socialist dictatorship!

Ms. Hannah-Jones should learn about the Cuban version of the 1619 Project, which in Cuba's case would have been called the 1511 Project, as that was when Spanish Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar set out from Hispaniola to establish the first Spanish settlement in Cuba, and brought the first African slaves to the island.

Since then and to its present day, Cuba has a long and agonizing history of racial issues, starting with its long bloody history of slavery, which didn't end on the island until 1886, and continuing through its freedom from Spain, birth of the Republic, and the triumph of the Castro Revolution in 1959. It continues to this day.

Cuba even had its own race war.

Antonio Maceo

General Antonio Maceo, known as "the Bronze Titan." He was the true warrior leader of the Cuban Wars of Liberation. His father was white of French ancestry; his mother was black, of Dominican ancestry. After the first Cuban Liberation War ended in a truce with Spain, some say that Maceo was so disillusioned with the realities of life in Cuba as a black man, that he left Cuba and lived in Panama, until he was called back to lead the Cuban rebels in a new rebellion in 1895. He returned to Cuba and was killed in battle against the Spanish Army in 1896.

In 1912, Black Cubans in Oriente province had enough of the new Cuban government's racist practices and the degrading treatment of Cuban black veterans, who had been the bulk of the Cuban rebels in the wars of independence against Spain. The Cuban government moved on a path of genocide and eventually the United States had to send in troops to end the war between the white Cuban government and the black rebels in Oriente.

As I recall from the CIA Factbook of 1959, on that year the island was about 70% white, about 20% black and mixed, and the rest Chinese, Jewish and other. The Cuban Diaspora which started a few months after the Castro takeover and continues to this day, with the exception of the Mariel boat lift of the 1980s, saw a mass exodus of mostly white Cubans, and as a result the island's racial balance shifted dramatically and although 65% of Cubans self-identify as white in recent censuses, many experts estimate that today the island is actually about 60% black or biracial.

But Cuba's black population has not seen a proportionate share of the power and a quick review of the governing Politburo/Parliament reveals few black faces in the crowd. 

In fact, "the Cuban cultural journal Temas published studies by the governmental Anthropology Centre in 2006 that showed that on average, the black population has worse housing, receives less money in remittances from abroad and has less access to jobs in emerging economic sectors like tourism, in which blacks represent barely five percent of managers and professionals, than the white population."
"I think silence is worse. The longer nothing is said, the more the racism fermenting underground is rotting the entire nation..."

Gerardo Alfonso
While the Cuban constitution of the 1940s (since then abolished by the Communist government) outlawed segregation and racism on paper, and the current Cuban Constitution guarantees black Cubans the right to stay in any hotel and be served at any public establishment, as it has been documented by many foreign journalists, black Cubans will tell you in private that those rights exist only on paper. They would have told Ms. Hannah-Jones during her visit to Cuba in 2008 - but she probably didn't notice that nearly everywhere that she visited, the presence of the Cuban government was not far, and people fear that presence.

The harsh Cuban reality today, Black Cubans will tell you, is that "black Cubans won't be served" and that Cubans, regardless of race are in general barred from places frequented by tourists.
Unfortunately, these things [disparities in the treatment of blacks and whites] are very common in Cuba.

Ricardo Alarcón Quesada
President of the National Assembly of People's Power
Cuban Parliament
Do these Cuban voices from within Cuba itself sound like the subjects of a government whose murdering tyrants' atrocities should be dealt with in silence? -- especially in view of our nation's own racial history and what Ms. Hannah-Jones so expeditiously attempted to document in her controversial 1619 Project? 
We have practically apartheid in this country sometimes... racism is deeply rooted in Cuba's history and will not disappear overnight.

Rogelio Polanco Fuentes
Cuban Communist Party-owned Juventud Rebelde newspaper.
What would she say if she had discovered the "permanent and shameful police harassment of young Cubans of African descent in our streets..." as noted by Leonardo Calvo Cardenas, the Cuban National Vice-Coordinador of the Citizens' Committee for Racial Integration (Comité Ciudadanos por la Integración Racial (CIR))?

As Omar López Montenegro, the Black Cuban director of Human Rights for the Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana recently stated in the Panama Post:
The situation for Black Cubans worsened after Castro assumed power... even though there were always racial issues, before Castro in Cuba there had been Black governors, a President of the Senate, Martín Morua Delgado, and also many Congressmen such as the labor leader Jesús Menéndez, a member of the Socialist Party. 

When Cuba became a Communist dictatorship, and democracy was lost, the advance of Black Cubans came to a halt. 

And this is what makes it even more maddening to a pedantic Virgo like me -- when even the lackeys of the Cuban dictatorship like Alarcon Quesada and black voices from within the brutalized island speak out, knowing that there will be consequences - as Zurbano discovered after his New York Times opinion piece - why does Ms. Hannah-Jones live in this rose-colored atmosphere where she perceives the poor jailed island as an example of equality?

Does she know that even though about 60% of Cubans are Black or brown, that 94.2% of the students at the University of Havana are white?  Is she aware - as evidenced by the hundreds of videos one can see at #SOSCuba, that the epicenters of the demonstrations in most Cuban cities during this historic uprising are in the Black neighborhoods? Does she know about Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, a young Black Cuban from La Güinera who was arrested and then murdered by the Cuban police? When notified that her son was dead, his mother committed suicide. Does she know that her own newspaper, The New York Times documented a few years ago how Black Cubans are routinely discriminated in Cuba? Is she aware that while 48% of white Cubans have an annual income of less that $3,000 USD, a whooping 95% of Black Cubans fall below that incredible line?

By the way... In 1959 Cuba had the third-highest per capita income in Latin America, exceeded only by Argentina and Venezuela (around $550 a year back then which is about $5,170 in today's dollars). In 1959 that was also higher than Italy, Japan, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal and every single Eastern European nation in the Soviet bloc.

Nikole Hannah-Jones now has an opportunity to clear the air, clear her mind, clear her perception and gain instant respect from Cubans of all races. All she has to say is that she's learned a lot since the statements that she made in 2019 surfaced during the current Cuban uprising - which as video evidence clearly shows, appears to involve Cubans of all races - and state that she was wrong and is now aware of the sorry and sad state of the Marxist government's deeply rooted racism.

Boom! Case closed.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

They will not be forgotten!


Xaviel Álvarez García, 18 years old, from Ciego de Avila was arrested on the first day of the historic Cuban uprising against their Communist oppressors and has been behind bars since then and his family has not been allowed to see him. He will not be forgotten!

Father Rafael Cruz Debora is a priest from Matanzas who was arrested on the first day of the historic Cuban uprising against the Marxist yoke. He will not be forgotten!

Omar Odin Planos Cordoví from Santiago de Cuba was arrested on the first day of the historic Cuban uprising and remains behind bars! He will not be forgotten!

Melissa López Campos, together with her husband Jhon Alejandro del Toro - both from Holguin were arrested on the first day of the historic Cuban uprising and are still behind bars. They will not be forgotten!

Mackyanis Román Rodríguez from La Guinera was arrested on 12 July during the historic Cuban uprising, together with her brothers Yosney and Emiyolan. Thay are all still behind bars and none of them will be forgotten!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Where are they?

I know that some of them have already spoken out (like Pitbull)... but we need our Cuban-American celebs to step out and support the Cuban uprising! Gloría Estefan, Jeff Bezos, Camilla Cabello, Andy Garcia, Cameron Diaz, William Levy, Dara Torres, Ryan Lochte, Bella Thorne, Maria Teresa (the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg), and many more!

#SOSCuba #Cuba #cubalibre

Friday, July 16, 2021

United Nations


Thursday, July 15, 2021

The People's Choice! VOTE!!!!

As many of you know, I have a work in The Phillips Museum DC exhibition 'Inside Outside Upside Down;'  It is a super important art exhibition celebrating the museum's 100th anniversary! They have just sent out a note with People's Choice Award voting platform found here: 

Vote for your favorite work with 1-5 stars

 My work is "Suddenly, She Discovered Her Identity (Many of Them)"

"Suddenly, She Discovered Her Identity (Many of Them)"

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

She will not be forgotten!

Neife Rigau has been arrested during the historic Cuban uprising against their Marxist dictators and her family has not been able to see her since. She will not be forgotten!

#SOSCuba #11J

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

1980 Cuba piece at auction!

This 1980 work from my Cuba series just popped up at an auction house in Miami! Proceeds go to the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora.

Bid for it here.

Isla Prision - A 1980 work of art from Cuba Series by Florencio Lennox Campello
Isla Prision
A 1980 work of art from Cuba Series by Florencio Lennox Campello

Monday, July 12, 2021

Daily Campello Welcomes New DC Arts Commission Chairperson

Reggie Van Lee was officially sworn as chairperson of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Chairperson Van Lee was appointed to the position by Mayor Muriel Bowser for a three-year term, with subsequent reappointments possible.

“It truly is an honor to be appointed chairperson of the arts commission by Mayor Bowser,” said Chairperson Van Lee. “Every DC resident should have the opportunity to access the full spectrum of arts and cultural offerings available in the District, and I look forward to helping the Commission continue its work to make that a reality.”

The Commission is an independent agency in the District of Columbia government that evaluates and initiates action on matters relating to the arts and humanities and encourages programs and the development of programs that promote progress in the arts and humanities. The Commission consists of 18 members appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the DC Council, who serve without compensation.

In 2020, Van Lee chaired the Commission’s Task Force on Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, which produced a report of 44 recommendations aimed at improving the Commission’s operations and improving access and transparency.

“There is a tremendous amount of knowledge, expertise, and talent amongst the staff and commissioners. Chairperson Van Lee will add to and enhance those abilities with his own, to the ultimate benefit of the District’s arts and cultural sector and our residents,” said Arts Commission Executive Director Heran Sereke-Brhan.

Van Lee is a Partner and Chief Transformation Officer of The Carlyle Group where he helps the firm develop strategies to enhance business processes. He previously served for 32 years as an executive at Booz Allen Hamilton. He has served on the boards of local arts organizations such as The Washington Ballet, Washington Performing Arts, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Cubans are on the street!

The internet is ablaze with the news that for the first time (at least in my memory) there are widespread protests in Cuba - the shouts are for "Libertad" which means "freedom."

The Marxist dictators are sure to react with a bloody reprisal - let's pray for these brave men, women and children on the streets of that poor brutalized island!

"Isla Herida" 1980 F. Lennox Campello Original Watercolor In a private collection in Coral Gables, FL
"Isla Herida"
1980 F. Lennox Campello
Original Watercolor
In a private collection in Coral Gables, FL

And here's a new flag for the uprising! A take-off on the 26th of July flag - this one has the colors of the Cuban flag (Red, White and Blue).  The red stripe is slightly larger than the blue, in honor of the blood being spilled on the streets of Cuba.  The "11J" in white is for 11 July!

11 July Movement Cuban Uprising flag - designed by Campello
11 July Uprising Flag
by Florencio Lennox Campello

Monday, July 05, 2021

The Morrigan

The Morrigan - 2021 by F. Lennox Campello

New for 2021 - a return to one of my obsessions! This is "The Morrigan" - she's the Celtic goddess of War, Lust and Sex. About 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches, charcoal, conte and a tiny bit of green watercolor for her Celtic eyes. Frame made from one of the nine holy woods of a Celtic bonfire.

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Punk Lincoln

"Punk Lincoln", circa 1981, Charcoal and conte on paper, 12x16 inches - an art assignment from the University of Washington School of Art (for a portrait assignment).

Punk Lincoln, by Lennox Campello circa 1981, Charcoal and conte on paper, 12x16 inches - an art assignment from the University of Washington School of Art (for a portrait assignment).
Punk Lincoln
Florencio Lennox Campello circa 1981
Charcoal and conte on paper, 12x16 inches 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Burundanga explained

Here's the whole logic to this song:

Songo hit Borondongo because Borondongo had hit Bernabe... And Borondongo did that because Bernabe had hit Muchilanga... why? 

Because Muchilanga had used Burundanga (the toxic drug) to make Bernabe's feet swell up!!! 

Cough... cough...

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Paint It! Ellicott City Award Winners Announced

Landscape painters from around the Mid-Atlantic region gathered in Historic Ellicott City June 10-13, dodging raindrops and cicadas while competing for cash prizes during Paint It! Ellicott City 2021, the Howard County Arts Council’s annual plein air paint-out. 

A virtual reception on June 18 featured a sneak peek at the Paint It! Ellicott City 2021 exhibition, featuring 27 juried artists; a look at the Open Paint exhibit, featuring 41 community artists; and the presentation of more than $9,000 in awards to the artists.   

Juror Lynn Mehta presented the $1,000 Gino Awards, named in honor of Ellicott City artist Gino Manelli (1915-2010), to Rajendra KC for Little Market Café and Michael Kotarba for Water Like Wine. 

Juror awards also went to:  

  • 2nd Place, $900 – Erin Pryor Gill, Rainy Day at Frederick Rd. 
  • 3rd Place, $800 – Marita Hines, Flowers for Sale 
  • 4th Place, $700 – Nishita Jain, Trolley Trail Walk 
  • 5th Place, $600 – Christine Rapa, A Sunday Kind of Love 
  • Honorable Mentions, $150 each – Tom Ritchie, Rainy Day Lunch Bunch; J. Stacy Rogers, Down Main Street; Bruno Baran, Through a Rainy Windshield: Babe Ruth’s Church; and Kathleen Kotarba, Built to Last. 

The Arts Council’s 40th Anniversary Award, $400, went to Jane Knighton for Peaceful Pond.  

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway Award of $500 for Best Depiction of the Patapsco River was presented to Kathleen Gray Farthing for Rush

Howard County Blossoms of Hope’s Award for Best Depiction of Nature, $500, went to Nishita Jain for Trolley Trail Walk

AARP Maryland’s Juried Artist Award, $500, went to Amanda Milliner for Meet Me at the Café. 

Awards were also presented to the Open Paint Artists:  
  • AARP Maryland Open Paint Award, $500 – Moonjoo Lee, Where Reflection Lies 
  • HCAC Director’s Choice 40th Anniversary Open Paint Award - Ronaldo Dorado, Running Wild  
  • HCAC Director’s Choice Honorable Mentions, $50 each – Barbara Kern-Bush, Ellicott City Fire House and Collin Cessna, Chalks on Main Street  
  • Young Artist Award, $25 - Henry Kigin, Mr. Blue House 
  • Carole Zink Open Paint Award, $100 – Andrea Naft, Reunion in Ellicott City 

Paint It! awards were made possible through the generous support of these sponsors: The Manelli Family, AARP of Maryland, Blossoms of Hope, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, and the Family of Carole Zink. 


Paint It! Ellicott City 2021, the exhibit featuring the juried artists’ work, remains on display at the Howard County Arts Council through August 7.  The Open Paint exhibit will be on display at the Howard County Welcome Center through July 24. Both exhibits are also available to view online via the Current Exhibits section at