Nottingham Grad Holds Solo Exhibit at Everson Museum
Jaleel Campbell walks into an exhibition room at the Everson Museum in Syracuse holding three dolls. They’re his own creations, the Jaleathel dolls, and they serve as a centerpiece to a new exhibit.
Titled Homecoming; the exhibition is all Campbell. The video monitor plays pieces he made, the art on the walls, the statues, everything. A solo show at the Everson is no small feat, but it means a bit more when you consider Campbell grew up less than 5 miles away from the room he’s standing in.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Campbell says walking the halls of Nottingham High School in Syracuse. It’s his first return in six years. Back where it all began, it’s all love.
Hugs from former teachers, smiles you can feel even though faces are covered by masks. It seems like everyone recognizes Jaleel. His early works can still be found in Mrs. Ferlenda’s classroom.
For his personal projects, Jaleel would snag canvasses from her supply. He asked permission for the first one, and just kind of assumed that carried over.
“Eventually after the eighth one it’s like hold up, where are you getting these from,” Campbell recalls.
That permission, it seems, did not carry over!
“So she came into the class one day like, ‘Jaleel, where did you get that from?’ I was like ‘Michaels!’” Campbell recounts, as both he and his former art teacher, Christina Ferlenda laugh along with the story.
“She said, ‘how much was it?’ I said, ‘eight dollars,’” Jaleel continues. That’s when Ferlenda jumps in, “I said, ‘well we’re going to call them cause you’re overpaying!’”
Jaleel’s motivation to work and sell his art was obvious, so after repaying the cost of the canvasses, the experience became a lesson in managing material costs instead of just punishing a student for breaking rules. Lessons like that make him want to return the favor, but in his area of expertise, digital art.
“Even when I was here, I didn’t know who to go to for that, it wasn’t popping like that so,” Campbell says to his former teachers. “Now I want to be that person they can look to.”