America ReFramed

A New Color - The Art of Being Edythe Boone

Season 05  Episode 1

A NEW COLOR - THE ART OF BEING EDYTHE BOONE focuses on the life and work of muralist, activist and educator, Edythe (Edy) Boone, a self-taught artist from East Harlem who moved to the San Francisco Bay area in search of a safe environment for her children. Filmed over five years, filmmaker Marlene "Mo" Morris follows Boone, the spirited and captivating septuagenarian who became an artist/activist simply because empowering and building community is “the right thing to do.” Concerned about the exceedingly high number of senseless deaths amongst young Black men in the U.S., Boone uses these injustices as part of the narrative in her murals.

When Boone was a little girl, she dreamt of creating a new color - one the world has never before seen. She was inspired by her grandmother, a seamstress, whose private quarters resembled an artist’s studio with fabric, patterns and colors. Boone lived her first six years with an orthodox Jewish family who nurtured her intellectual curiosity and influenced her respect for all cultures. Her art and social practice was also informed by the Black Power and Civil Rights movements, periods which made an impact on her paintings – both on canvas and in public space. She explores representations of African Americans to convey a complex inner world and humanity, while confronting racial stereotypes and social inequities.

Boone believes that art is for everyone and that collaborative artmaking can be a transformative experience for children and adults of all ages. Like many artists, she enjoys getting immersed in the creation of her personal work. Driven by the practice of engaging others through public art and mural making, she tackles difficult issues, such as the deaths of young Black males that include Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sean Bell, Kenny Johnson, and her nephew, Eric Garner. Ultimately, Boone’s mission is to empower individuals and transform communities through art and activism.