In 2018, Downing established KAWD Art Gallery in Baton Rouge with a mission to educate, inspire, and increase social consciousness. She actively exhibits and commissions her work in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Baton Rouge. Her work has been on display at the New Orleans Contemporary Art Center, Aqua Art Miami and Spectrum Miami during Art Basel Miami, and Capital Park Museum – Baton Rouge. She earned first prize during the Louisiana Contemporary Exhibition in Prospect.4 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
Kristen Downing is a self-taught visual artist from New Orleans. She began her career as a sought-after tattoo artist and developed a passion for painting. Her work is largely fueled by the social and political climate of America.
Downing said it is the artist’s responsibility to speak to the times, and she has focused her latest work on the current realities people of color in America. Her collections have left an impression.
“Her imagery captures the bold, brashness of our current reality in a political context that isn’t nice, sweet, or pleasant. It’s in your face, it’s bold, it’s brazen, and it’s reality. She uses her art in the way protesters use their voice, leaders use their influence, and nations use their power,” said Kimmy Ducasse, writer at The Urban Realist.
Downing’s work will be exhibited February 20 through April 2 in the Frank Hayden Hall Art Gallery at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge.
The exhibition is curated by Randell Henry, associate professor of visual arts at Southern University.