Adriene Cruz

Ford Family Foundation Golden Spot
Fall 2022

"The art I create fulfills a powerful desire to express visually what's not easily spoken, a passion for color, a love of symbols, and a deep interest in matters of the Spirit.   Gifts of my ancestors,  angels, and spirit guides celebrating the power of art beyond visual image flows through me as a celebration of survival.  Ancestral roots real and imagined offer a base to channel elements of healing and blessings. "

Harlem native Adriene Cruz was deeply inspired by her mothers creative use of color and the rich cultural influences of her childhood community.

Adriene attended the High School of Art and Design and  received a BFA from the School of Visual Art in NewYork.

After relocating to Portland,  Oregon  she explored  quilting at the Oregon School of Art and Craft. What emerged were brilliantly colored and adorned quilts, large and small, piecing together richly patterned materials in rhythmic arrangements,  structured as well as improvisational, deeply moving on a spiritual level and simply enjoyable for their sheer beauty.

Fabric,  cowrie shells,  mirrors,  sequins, beads ,  tribal silver, even beetle wings and fragrant herbs are among the endless adornments and amulets in Adriene's artistic alchemy.  

Adriene's creative vision garnered invitations to create  public art in her Portland community. Often engaging community youth, Adriene created street banners, murals, decorative trash bins and a billboard. Public artist Valerie Otani  invited Adriene to design one of Portland's Light Rail stations. The artists collaborated creating colorful glass mosaic,  handmade tiles, steel railings and concrete benches reflecting Ashanti culture.  "Stone quilts" embedded in the paving also adorn the platform of Killingsworth Station..

Adriene has exhibted internationally in Brazil, Costa Rica and South Africa.  Nationally her work has exhibited at the Smithsonian in D.C., The Folk Art Museum, NY,  American Craft Museum , NY, Museum of Biblical Art, NY, The Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, The National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis,  and the Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA. to name a few. Collections include  the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta GA, Haborview Medical Center, Seattle, Portland Community College and numerous private collections.