Paula Phillips: A Fusion Flow Exhibition

Paula Phillips was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her life and career have led her through Texas, Missouri, Colorado, Utah, and now Baltimore, Maryland, her home. Phillips is a practicing studio and community artist, a social justice advocate and activist, the former director of Maryland Institute College of Arts’ (MICA) Community Arts Partnerships  and Community Arts MFA programs. has been a full-time teaching faculty with the MA and now MFA in Community Arts programs since 2004. She taught undergraduate community-based courses in MICA’s First Year Experience and Painting Departments.

A former teacher of comprehensive art at Suitland High School, Phillips also has taught in many Baltimore City Public Schools and Anne Arundel Community College; has served as Senior Director of the city-wide summer program SuperKids Camp; and has served as arts consultant, program developer and facilitator with various institutions and community organizations including Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Summer Learning, Black Cherry Puppet Theater, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The After School Institute, The Walters Art Museum Fun Festival, The Child First Authority, Baltimore City Career Academy, Bright Starts, the Amazing Port Street Project, ConneXtions Academy and Art@Work 2015, and the Modell Lyric Performing Art Center’s Rise Up! initiative with the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.

Phillips specializes in mixed-media paintings that embrace social justice issues. Her artworks reflect her European, Indigenous American and African roots, and have been exhibited along the Eastern Seaboard, primarily in the Baltimore-Washington areas.

The marriage of her studio art and educational curricula developed for academic courses and community projects and initiatives emphasizes Phillips’ honor of ‘voice’ and symbiotic and relational values, making each an integral component, one to the other. Her art is actualized through personal experiences and cultural and professional relationships. She utilizes and incorporates the disciplines of painting, fibers, photography, ceramics, and sculptural form in metaphorical, narrative-based mixed-media paintings. Paula utilizes aspects of form, color, textures, and surfaces that extend beyond typical boundaries, mediums, process and content. How each component can stand alone or collaborate, is equally important to her, lending balance to hypothesis and theory and to her creative and critical analysis processes, resulting in quality art products that have meaning and substance.

Phillips is a recipient MICA’s 2018 Trustee Award for Teaching Excellence and the 2007 Distinguished Service Award and has received a certificate of recognition from the Maryland State Department of Education for curriculum development of summer programs for Baltimore City children, youth and teens; has received citations from the Baltimore City and the State of Maryland, and served three years as coordinator of MICA’s Community Arts Convening & Research Project. She earned her BAs through Huston-Tillotson College (1971) and Texas Wesleyan University (1994) and her MFA through MICA’s Hoffberger School of Painting (1996).