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The Art of Expression: One PreEminent Student’s Art on Display at The Met

Joy fills Lacquen Tolbert as photographs of her grandmother are now on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York as a part of the Beautiful Project. 

Because of her race, Tolbert’s grandmother was not allowed to be at The Met when she was her age, which makes this accomplishment that much more sentimental and makes Tolbert so proud. Her two pieces of photography are titled Self Portrait and Gran-Gran in the Kitchen.

Her artwork is on display as part of Pen, Lens & Soul: The Story of The Beautiful Project. This project presents over a decade of work by image makers who create spaces for black girls and women to express their power and beauty. Founded in 2004, The Beautiful Project is North Carolina–based and “cultivates black identity, fosters sisterhood, and embraces black girls within a loving community.”

"This presentation is a celebration of the incredibly talented girls and women who have channeled their experiences into powerful art," said Sandra Jackson-Dumont, the Museum's Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education.

Lacquen is in sixth grade at PreEminent Charter School. Her passion for art began in fourth grade and what she loves most about art is that it gives her the ability to be creative and express herself. Her interest extends from art to photography, to writing, and to a recent interest in anime.

Timisha Blue, Lacquen’s mom, had been following The Beautiful Project’s blog and was intrigued by their sharing of stories of things women would tell their younger self. “I asked Lacquen if she wanted to get involved with their organization and she has no hesitations. She has always been a talented artist and I am so excited she was able to be part of this,” said Blue.

The exhibition will be on display at The Met until Feb. 24, 2020.

“The inspiration behind my artwork is to inspire black women and black girls to pursue their achievements and dreams,” said Tolbert. “They can do anything they want to do.”