Darius Steward (1984) is an American Artist from East Cleveland, Ohio. Outliving the neighborhood, he grew up in, Steward is one of a select few whose determination got him out of the zip code. Completing his undergrad at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2008 and his MFA at the University of Delaware in 2010 he recognized the importance of education and mentorship, investing himself and his creative process in the future of humanity. Symbolically and literally, he addresses cultural and societal conflicts and opens conversation across racial, socioeconomic, gender and cultural lines. 

Steward also serves as the Program Manager for the Cleveland Museum of Art in their Education Department for “Currently under Curation.” He recruits and mentors inner city youth across interdisciplinary arts fields. Teaching them the art of curation in addition to numerous professional skills with the intended purpose of increased college application and attendance. 

Artist Statement

My creativity deals with social issues of identity, race and placement within western culture. I am a Watercolorist who creates and highlights cultural consciousness. I chronicle the development of my children, family and the community around me, permanently documenting their place in history within various moments. I adapt this imagery to illustrate my own vision from painting to painting. I use this working method as a metaphor to express both the connection and disconnection of African Americans in our society.

When I approach a new series an event happens or an idea pops into my awareness. I sit with it for a while. Days, weeks, sometimes months until I know exactly what I want to achieve and say. Through the use of metaphors, I address subjects such as learned helplessness, mental health, loss, emotion, and greater contemporary culture and the modern media. My portrayal of my children now borders on appropriation of many personal moments and memories. I recognize what they are experiencing and make connections between what I experienced some 30 years ago versus what I missed out on in East Cleveland. I have greater aspirations for a better life for my children and all people.