Crystal Stokowski is an ocean lover & autodidactic artist who primarily works with second hand, upcycled, & found materials. She expresses in a variety of media including pyrography, clay, quilting, print making, painting, herbalism, writing, video, pocket sized surf zines, astrology, & large scale mixed media installations. Crystal has recently co-founded TPAIRR, an Artist in Residence program at her home located in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Which gives artists & the like, a place for connection, reflection, & inspiration. She deeply believes that being creative with positive intention brings love & light to the places that need it most.
Crystal has exhibited her work extensively from 96 Gillespie in London to Galleria Candela in San Juan, Puerto Rico to multiple galleries and venues in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago. She has given talks & workshops at MOMA NYC, ICA Philadelphia, Clocktower Gallery NYC, and Siren Arts Asbury Park. Stokowski was selected for three Artist Residencies funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation & The NEA in 2013, 2014, and 2017. She is also part of an outdoor permanent installation in Camden, New Jersey & a permanent group exhibition in the Philadelphia International Airport. Crystal has taught classes in pyrography and fiber art at Fleisher Art Memorial and the Rehoboth Art League. Stokowski has had a variety of work published in several Artistic Publications such as Sea Together Magazine, Ready Made, Foam Symmetry, Awkhold, and Installation Books through Space 1026.
Always Here: An Homage to the Lenni Lenape 2014 Mixed media assemblage, reclaimed wood, found objects
Crystal Stokowski's installation addresses the absence of recognition for the Lenni Lenape, New Jersey’s indigenous people. In today's hastily developed and disposable culture, autochthonous civilizations who have thrived sustainably are often forgotten. Stokowski's wigwam, an homage to the traditional Lenape home, is constructed from repurposed and found materials and sewn with endemic bark patterns that she silk screened in neutral tones. Her approach magnifies this peaceful structure, which encourages a deeper awareness and reflection to the once flourishing Lenape nation. She provides a place to sit and contemplate the dwelling with a free zine as a memento
Promised Land is generously supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Madison Marquette and Asbury Park Waterfront.
siren arts residency 2017
Siren Arts is an artist residency & exhibition program for emerging visual artists in Asbury Park, NJ.
The Lenni - Lenape, A tribe of over 3,000 members traces its roots back over 12,000 years ago in New Jersey. Since 1982 the state legislature passed resolutions recognizing only three tribes in New Jersey, one of them being the Nanticoke Lenni - Lenape. From the 1980’s until 2011 there has been no question of their recognition by the state.
However, in 2012, the GAO was informed by the NJ Commission on Indian Affairs via the Acting Attorney General, that there are no State-Recognized tribes. The motivation for revoking the tribes status is through a stereotype/racially driven view that recognition is a pathway to opening a casino; regardless of documents expressing that the Lenape wholly prohibit gaming.
That new status, without due process, has created even more oppression for the once recognized Lenni -Lenape.
The tribe sought peaceful efforts to rescind the statement by means of the Attorney General and other representatives from the Governor’s office, but ultimately the Lenni - Lenape were told that the administration would not work to resolve the issue.
In 2015, the lawsuit Lenni - Lenape vs. New Jersey was filed.
Without State-Recognition, the adversities the Lenni-Lenape and other tribes face include; The loss of dozens of tribal jobs, The ability to sell artwork and crafts as “Indian-Made” which has lost the Lenape close too $300k annually, withdrawal of membership in organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians, Over $600k in designated federal and state programs for state-recognized tribes, but most importantly, the loss of recognition jeopardizes the ethnic, cultural, and religious traditions of each tribe. Furthermore, it prohibits public awareness of the people who are indigenous to these lands.
Many of us have felt or acted with racial or cultural bias in one way or another. Even with common phrases like ‘’America is a nation of immigrants”, those words alone, completely negate the existence of Native Americans. We must acknowledge this vocabulary and these actions and let them go. Let them out of our language and our movements. Racism and Prejudices need to be made aware of and removed from our ancestry and the patterns of our daily lives. We must unite with Love and Light, Peace and Compassion. We have to remember, We are all connected, We are one.
Wondering what you can do?
Learn more about the lawsuit and the relationship it has with racism, stereotyping, and cultural prejudice.
Talk about it. Inform your friends, family, co-workers, and connect with strangers who might not have access to this information.
Make art about it. By being creative you are bringing positive energy, love, and light to places that are dim and bleak. The Lenni-Lenape, among many other indigenous cultures are still overcoming hardships that our ancestors have brought forth. We must acknowledge. Come up with different ways to express ourselves by putting love, peace, and compassion first. Open up a new loving dialogue to communicate with people who use scornful vocabulary or hurtful actions.
Tamanend, who was a Lenape Chief in the 1600s was known as a lover of peace and friendship. He is reported to have said that the English Colonists and the Lenni-Lenape were “To live in peace as long as the waters run in the rivers and creeks and as long as the stars and moon endure”
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Wet Dreams featuring Crystal Stokowski and Michael Persico at SPACE 1026
Wet dreams is a mixed media installation by Crystal Stokowski and Michael Persico involving quilting, screen printing, photography, video installation, woodworking and pyrography. The show is inspired by deep sea celestial voyaging, surfing, and the mysticism surrounding the ocean. The pair of artists are great friends who share a passion for the surf. Although they both currently live in the city they take every opportunity they can to get salty, often times adventuring to find waves together.
In this show Crystal Stokowski gives her layered psychedelic twist to work that is inspired by her surf travels to Australia, New Zealand, and her part time residence in Oahu, Hawaii. She has also volunteered for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, which has influenced her work and given her a deeper appreciation for the sea, surf and sailing.
Michael Persico is a Philadelphia based photographer with a self- proclaimed obsession for surf. Although it’s difficult living in the city with his desire to be one with the waves, he wouldn’t have it any other way. The feeling of being in the ocean and surf informs his everyday life and that same feeling is meant to come across in the work. As a hobby Michael makes hand planes which are a fine tool for any body surfer. In the show you can see his beautiful detail to these woodworks and a collaboration video the two artists bring forward.
furever at gallery tk
this installation took place at gallery tk in northampton, massachusetts in 2006. i recreated donated clothing and then donated it back to the community. at the opening reception/dance party you could make an exchange with an item(s) that i altered and then leave an article of clothing that you didn't want anymore. i would then repurpose it during the length of time the show was up so that at any point you came to the gallery you could exchange again. the infinite clothing swap.