About Maya Imani Watson
To hear my father tell it, I was drawing on the walls as a child. I have always loved creating things. I believe in the value of the artistic process. I have seen first hand how it can change lives. It continues to shape mine. I can remember my father sitting in his office while in transition between projects. He would clean his office and get things in order. Then he would read his bible. He may cross reference something with the Koran and he would most definitely be listening to John Coltrane. He told me there may be days when all there was to do was make my art and listen to some good music. As this year takes shape I find myself getting things in order and preparing for the blessings to come.
An artist, an educator and a proud mother. Watson has worked in the field of museum administration and arts education for over 20 years. A product of the Houston Independent School District, Watson graduated from HSPVA (The High School for Performing and Visual Arts) with a concentration in ART. Watson received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Mount Holyoke College and did her graduate work at the State University of New York, (SUNY) Binghamton in the MBA/Arts Administration program. Watson worked for over 13 years at Texas Southern University, serving as the Museum Registrar, Education Coordinator, Museum Graphics Specialist and Museum Archivist. Currently Watson is the Fine Arts Director and teaching artist at the historic Booker T. Washington High school and the High School for Engineering Professions. Watson is also the Yearbook Manager and strongly believes in the importance of documenting cultural history. Watson believes art has the capacity to tell the story of a people and empower humanity.
Someone once asked Watson how many more paintings is she going to make. She was taken back because for her art is like breathing; It is necessary. Art is a lens through which she sees the world. Light and shadow describe form and creamy paint illuminates the beauty that still exists in the world. Ultimately art is about communicating and problem solving. How can we communicate our ideas, thoughts, dreams and passions? How can we build bridges across our communities and how can we think outside of the box to come up with innovative solutions to the challenges in our lives and our world? As a teaching artist Watson has experienced the transformative power of art. Watson recognizes that at times art has been the tether that has anchored her soul when she experienced tremendous loss. Watson strives to awaken the curiosity in the lives of all the young scholars in her life. While Watson recognizes that not everyone wants to be an artist when they grow up, she knows that art can be that anchor or breath of fresh air in the midst of turbulent times.
Watson has had solo exhibitions at The Ensemble, The Breakfast Klub, The Community Artists’ Collective, The DuVintor Gallery, Prairie View A & M University and Texas Southern University. Watson has exhibited with 5 A, The African American Advisory Association to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and numerous group exhibitions. Watson was one of 23 artists selected to participate in the first annual HISD Art Teacher Showcase 2019 at the Mid Main Project. Watson painted live at the Wortham Theatre with Kirk Whalum during the TSU Honors Awards Banquet. Watson has participated in the Military In Art exhibition in 2019 at The Buffalo Soldier’s Museum. Watson is the Art Director of The Glam Art Gallery with the annual PrinceDayHou celebrations organized by Craig Alexander.