Art Out the Box

by D. Amari Jackson

Imagine we had known about African American art from day one. Imagine our schoolteachers had been bursting at the seams to share Black art with us as young bright-eyed students. 

Let’s take it even further. Imagine if someone who looked like us had designed an entire curriculum focused on Black and Brown artists from the significant art periods to the present where individuals, regardless of age, could learn about these relevant periods, styles, and techniques. And imagine this could all be delivered to our doorsteps in a representative, artistically-crafted box by monthly subscription or even catered for special events like paint parties and date nights.

Imagine no more. 

“I have always loved seeing Black people in art,” acknowledges Giliane St-Amand Green, the creator of BlackishArt, a web-based platform promoting the contributions of Black and Brown artists to Art History. Inspired by the art lessons with which she homeschooled her four children, Green’s innovative business offers curated art boxes that educate while providing hand-picked art supplies, an inspirational piece of art, video tutorials, and project-based technique demonstrations. 

Giliane St-Amand Green- mom, creative, artist and founder of BlackishArt

“I tried to find everything that I could put my hands on to elevate their education, what they would not necessarily get from the standard books,” recalls Green, noting she researched and used art as a means of teaching social studies and history. “I created a curriculum for my children where I taught them the elements of art through the different Black artists that I found,” she says. “We would go to the library, and there were a lot of books about a lot of famous artists, but not many featured Black artists. So that’s how I got started.” 

Though Green got started in visual art later in life, the professional event planner and descendant of Haitian immigrants was reared in an artistic culture with poets and musicians on both sides of the family. “Haitian art is common in Haitian households,” she reports, depicting its “very vibrant colors and tableaus.” Though she enjoyed doing scrapbooks and collage, and “always had a passion and desire” for art, Green “didn’t really start creating anything or even learning how to sketch a face until adulthood.” Seven years ago, after turning 40, the University of Miami graduate began focusing on drawing along with her favored oil and pan pastels. 

It has since served her in ways not limited to business and parenting. “I definitely use art to feel better, to create a mood, to change my mindset, to educate myself,” stresses Green. “I also look to art for inspiration, especially in event planning when I’m creating an idea. I always turn to art to get my inspiration when creating a mood or a setting for a client.” 

As for BlackishArt, Green’s customers frequently turn to her boxes to inspire their own events. “The most common subscribers or people who purchase my boxes have been young adults and females wanting to do ladies night or other intimate events like that,” says Green, adding “I walk them through the materials along with the video.” 


For the subscriptions, the overall curriculum is effectively represented within its monthly components. “Every single box, the adult or child focuses on a Black artist,” explains Green, clarifying “you get the history of that artist, you get their style, you get an understanding of the material, the mediums that they use, and the quote-unquote category that the art world puts them in. So if they are a Cubist artist, or if they are abstract or a collagist, you get that information in a bio card that is in the box as well as in the information on the video. Each person gets a color wheel to explain a little bit about colors and how they mix, tints versus shading, etcetera.” 

“And then,” concludes Green, “you get the material to create the art in the box.” 

  The class with Giliane was wonderful! She was informative, patient, and explained processes in away that a novice like myself could understand! I will definitely take another class from her! — Janice V.



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AMARI JACKSON is a creator, author, TV/web/film producer, and award-winning journalist. He is author of the 2011 novel, The Savion Sequence; creator/writer/coproducer of the 2012-2014 web series The Book Look; writer/coproducer of the 2016 film Edge of the Pier; and current writer/coproducer of Listen Up! on HBCU GO/Roku TV. He is a former Chief of Staff for a NJ State Senator; a former VP of Communications & Development for the Jamestown Project at Harvard University; and a recipient of several writing fellowships including the George Washington Williams Fellowship from the Independent Press Association. An active ghost writer, song writer, martial artist, and journalist, his writings have appeared in a wide variety of national and regional publications.

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