“She taught me that putting your art out there is like putting a piece of yourself on display and that it’s always good to keep your passion flowing. To me, she was the heart of the school.”
Name: Ajene Williams
Creative Industry: Visual Arts & Crafts
Sloss Furnace used to have a summer youth program for school kids. My teacher signed me up to go, but I didn’t go. I spent that whole summer skateboarding. But when the opportunity came up again, she drove me there herself and forced me to go. She even sat next to me while they interviewed me for the internship. Back then I was pretty shy, so she did most of the talking. She told them how good I was and that I was “like a ninja” and that I was really talented.
Well she was unlike any other teacher I had before. She told me things that I still use today. She would give me my own projects to work on with no limit. I would always agree. She gave me confidence to try things I never did before. She made a really big impact on my life. She let me test my limits. She taught me that putting your art out there is like putting a piece of yourself on display and that it’s always good to keep your passion flowing. To me, she was the heart of the school.
Ever since then I’ve been getting so much support. The positive feedback and exposure has been great. I also bought my first truck.
The city could help by commissioning local artists instead of going across seas and outside of the region. There is so much skill in Birmingham. Every artist needs a shot.
I’m going to keep working on pieces and continue putting myself out there and casting bigger pieces. My goal is to one day bring life back to Sloss Furnace as if it was still running – creating sculptures of life size people working, turning wheels, riding train cars, tapping the walking on iron, having group discussions, lunch breaks, and doing everyday work. I just think Sloss is so perfect for the stuff those workers went through back then. I think it would fill Sloss with so much life. One day I will be able to work on that.