Tinwood exists to change the way the world thinks about art and culture. As an organization, we are committed to increasing public awareness and appreciation of the vernacular visual arts of the African American South.
Through research, documentation, preservation, and education, we bring this vital and quintessentially American art form to a wider audience. Our projects include publications, exhibitions, films, music, lectures, educational workshops, and community outreach.
Our goal is to further the understanding and ensure the long-term survival of artworks whose deeply personal and ethnically specific creative processes have kept them outside the scope of conventional arts institutions and scholarship. In the process, we hope that this artform will transcend its long-held labels such as "folk," "outsider," and "visionary," and be recognized and appreciated worldwide as simply "art."
Return to the top
For more than twenty years, William Arnett has been documenting, photographing, curating, and collecting art of the African American South, culminating in the two-volume book Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South. He served as co-curator and co-editor of the exhibitions/books The Quilts of Gee's Bend, Gee's Bend: The Women and Their Quilts, and Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt as well as co-curator and a contributing writer to the exhibition/book Thornton Dial in the 21st Century. He has built internationally important collections of African, Asian, and African American art, among others, that have been exhibited at over fifty museums and educational institutions around the United States. He has authored or coauthored a variety of articles and museum catalogs, including Beyond India: The Art of Southeast Asia and Three Rivers of Nigeria for the High Museum of Art. He has also curated numerous exhibitions on subjects ranging from ancient ceramics to twentieth-century Mayan textiles.
For more about William Arnett, see Tinwood's History
Return to the top
Paul Arnett was born in 1965 in Washington, D.C., and raised in Georgia. Since 1987, he has been studying, collecting, and documenting African American vernacular art of the American South. In the late 1990s, along with his father, William Arnett, and his brothers, he co-founded Tinwood Books. His projects for Tinwood, where he oversees publications, include the two volumes of Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South, several books on the quilts of Gee's Bend, and Thornton Dial in the 21st Century. Like all members of the Tinwood team, he has extensive experience in exhibition and publication preparation.
He is a graduate of the Westminster Schools, Atlanta, and Harvard College, where he majored in art history. His interests include poetry and the outdoors. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.
Return to the top
Matt Arnett is a photographer, filmmaker, curator, and researcher whose primary interest is in the art and culture of the African American South.
Matt served as project coordinator for the exhibition Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South, organized in conjunction with the Cultural Olympiad of the 1996 Summer Olympics. He served as project director for the accompanying publications of the same name.
He co-produced and co-directed the half-hour documentary film The Quilts of Gee's Bend and directed and co-produced the two-CD set How We Got Over: Sacred Songs of Gee's Bend. Through Tinwood, Matt has acted as project director for the following books and exhibitions: The Quilts of Gee's Bend, Thornton Dial in the 21st Century, Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt, and Mary Lee Bendolph, Gee's Bend Quilts, and Beyond. He also served as executive producer of Purvis of Overtown, an award-winning documentary about Miami artist Purvis Young.
Matt Arnett is a graduate of Emory University, where he studied Art History and African/African American Studies.
Return to the top
Dindy Yokel's twenty-two years of experience in international public relations and marketing culminated in the formation of DindyCo in January of 1998, a Miami Beach-based full service firm devoted to national and international clients. Prior to launching her own firm, Ms. Yokel enjoyed an outstanding reputation among clients, peers, and the media in New York and Miami for her innovative concepts and dedication to her clients. Currently her client roster includes artist Purvis Young, Art Miami, ArtCenter/South Florida, and Milou Gallery, among others.
Previously, Ms. Yokel served as Vice President at Zynyx Marketing Communications, Inc. in Miami, vice president of O'Connell & Goldberg Public Relations in Hollywood, Florida, and Account Supervisor at M. Silver Associates, New York City's premier travel and tourism agency. Her clients included Cuervo Tequila, Burger King Corporation, The City of Miami Beach, the Bass Museum of Art, Royal Crown Company, Inc., Boston Market, NBC6/WTVJ, Principality of Monaco, Presidente Inter-Continental Hotels (Mexico), Hershey Entertainment and Resort Company, and the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel.
In her role as public relations counsel to Tinwood, Ms. Yokel provides marketing services for Tinwood and a number of artists they work with such as the quilters of Gee's Bend, Thornton Dial, and Lonnie Holley.
Ms. Yokel is a graduate of Syracuse University. She is Chairman of the Board of ArtCenter/South Florida and a professor at Miami International University.
Tinwood's roots can be traced to the mid-1980s, when William Arnett began to collect in earnest the artworks of self-taught African American artists in the southeastern United States. Having arrived at this region of interest after three decades of collecting in depth the art of many other civilizations—Chinese jade and porcelain, traditional sub-Saharan African art, pre-Columbian ceramics, art from the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East, the art of India and Southeast Asian art, among others—Arnett was convinced (against prevailing art-historical dogma at the time) that the so-called folk or outsider artists of the black American South were a coherent cultural movement and constituted a crucial chapter in world art. The sweeping changes affecting southern black life in the late twentieth century, especially those changes set in motion by the civil rights movement, radically energized the artists of the region and their long-suppressed voices. To Arnett, the art was significant both for historical and aesthetic reasons. He then began to document the artists in as much detail as possible and decided to create a collection that would serve as a permanent record and legacy of this cultural movement.
As the collection grew in size and breadth in the early 1990s, Arnett began the process of introducing the art into the "mainstream" cultural dialogue and arts institutions, museums, universities, and publishers. Gradually he realized that the factors that had helped make this genre unique, including its practitioners' geographical separation from traditional centers of high culture, the artists' unfamiliarity with the systems of art appreciation and consumption, as well as pervasive stereotypes and biases, left the institutional artworld profoundly ill-equipped to support these artists and the ideas their work embodied.
By the mid-1990s Arnett had conceived an ambitious project to introduce to a wide audience the full historical sweep of late-twentieth-century southern black vernacular art: an exhibition and two-volume book, titled Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South, which was ultimately presented at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. When the books' scheduled publisher was unable to produce the book within the time constraints, Arnett volunteered to produce the book himself with a team of designers and editors he would assemble in Atlanta. From that happenstance Tinwood emerged.
Since then, Tinwood has played a pivotal role in bringing this cultural movement to a wider audience. Having published award-winning books The Quilts of Gee's and Thornton Dial in the 21st Century and developed the exhibitions of the same name, Tinwood has helped bring overdue exposure and recognition to southern African American artists who have toiled in obscurity for far too long. With numerous books and exhibitions on the horizon, Tinwood will continue to change the way the world thinks about art and culture.
Return to the top