James Sneed, an original (in both senses of the word) member of Bridge Group Artists, founded by art therapist Judy Rosenthal 1988, painted because his life depended on it.
In 1959 he was invited to join The Arts Studio on Grand Street and worked with other artists including Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis and Al Hollingsworth. James founded The 20th Century Creators in the 1960s and designed his first outdoor exhibit.
James stopped making his work three times when he was struggling with mental illness. The first time he quit, believing he had exhausted his creative resources, he subsequently returned to painting, spurred on “by pride.” The second, he resumed his work because he “realized that by not painting, I ran the risk of not being able to come back–to return anymore.” And the third time he joined Bridge Group Artists and found a place to work and a support system.
James, a kind and gentle man, called the great painter Jacob Lawrence his mentor, and in turn was a valued mentor–and friend–to other artists in the Group.