World-Renowned Artist Hubert Massey Visits PREP Students
World-renowned artist Dr. Hubert Massey recently visited the Bloomfield Hills Schools PREP program. Massey is the only commissioned African American fresco artist in the United States and is particularly known for excelling in this painstaking and demanding medium along with large scale art projects. The visit kicked off a collaborative project with Massey who will eventually help the PREP students create their own piece of community art, made possible by a $14,000 grant.
Students were treated to a lengthy slide show of Massey’s works and detailed commentary on their origin and inspiration, along with technical details on how the pieces were created. Massey told the PREP students and staff that while on a football scholarship at Grand Valley State University, the opportunity arose to study at the University of London’s School of Art. This experience was an epiphany for the Flint-born student who finished the football scholarship and received a degree in art.
Massey particularly admires artists who work in multiple formats. “I saw artists like DaVinci who not only painted, but was a designer, an engineer, a fabricator of instruments and machinery. I wanted to do all of that. My thing was to learn as much as I possibly could.” Massey now not only does large-scale painting, but also terrazzo, frescos, oil painting, sculpting, linoleum cuts, and design work. “I want to be this total artist – an artist that specializes in everything.” Massey stated.
Students were regaled with stories of Massey’s extensive experiences, including hand-painting massive outdoor billboards while 200 feet in the air, learning fresco from apprentices of Diego Rivera in Mexico, and creating a 72-foot diameter terrazzo floor mosaic at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The immense art projects often incorporate a wide-range of history and stories. At the IRS building, Massey included Chief Pontiac, Cadillac, Judge Woodward, and a minuteman representing the War Memorial and Fort Wayne.
The next step is for the PREP students to take a field trip during February to many of the Detroit locations where Massey’s art is displayed, including places like Harmony Park, Campus Martius, and Cobo Hall. “I work in mediums that not only will outlast me, but will stand the test of time,” explained Massey.
For more information on Hubert Massey, including a list of public locations where you can see the art installations, see www.hubertmasseymurals.net.
PREP is a post-secondary educational program operated by Bloomfield Hills Schools for BHS students dedicated to helping each student become a Prepared, Responsible, Employable and Productive member of the community. The program serves young adults ages 18 - 26 who have developmental and physical disabilities.