Directed by Juanita Anderson.
Filmmaker Juanita Anderson follows visual artist Sydney G. James, whose bold brush strokes in murals and large-scale paintings amplify the presence of Black women, Black families and Black culture in her hometown of Detroit. Through her work as a mentor and as co-founder of the BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival, James inspires her fellow Detroiters to come together to celebrate their community.
Sydney G. James is a fine artist/muralist raised in, and by, Detroit. She employs her fierce brushstrokes on canvas, fabric, brick and stone to provoke conversations, long silenced, on the ignored and invisible. Black women are first. Never last and never forgotten. Her figurative works boldly rewrite the narrative in hues evoking the complexities of Black reality, joy and pain, and phoenix-like resilience. Her murals have lit up walls in Detroit, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Pow Wow Hawaii, Pow Wow Long Beach, Pow Wow Worcester, and across six continents. Sydney is a co-founder of the biannual BLKOUT Walls street mural festival which debuted in Detroit in 2021. A 2017 recipient of the prestigious Detroit Kresge Artist Fellowship, she has been awarded residencies at Red Bull House of Art (2016), the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities (2020), and a 2022 International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) residency in Brooklyn, NY. Sydney’s artwork has been featured by marketing brands Vans shoes, PepsiCo, Ford Motor Company, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions.
Original production funding for In the Making is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.
American Masters series production funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, AARP, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Judith and Burton Resnick, Koo and Patricia Yuen, Seton J. Melvin, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, The Marc Haas Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation and public television viewers.
For the digital series, Michael Kantor is the Executive Producer for American Masters. Stanley Nelson, Marcia Smith and Monika Navarro are the Executive Producers for Firelight Media. Major support for the In the Making digital series is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Anderson Family Charitable Fund, The Marc Haas Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and Edgar Wachenheim III.