Gallery presents Lake Charles native Simien

The Black Heritage Gallery will display artwork by Jamar Simien beginning Friday, Feb. 1, in the gallery at Central School Arts and Humanities Center.

Simien is an artist, art teacher and former landscape architect in Houston. He was born and raised in Lake Charles. He graduated from LaGrange Senior High School in 2002 and graduated from LSU in 2007 with a bachelor’s of landscape architecture.

He practiced landscape architecture in downtown Houston for two years, working on projects like the City Center Las Vegas and other contemporary urban design projects around the world.

In 2009 he moved back to Louisiana, after losing his job during the recession. He volunteered as an art teacher and basketball coach at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Lake Charles for six months until he was hired as the art teacher at Cedar Bayou Junior School in Baytown, Texas.

Simien also mentors at-risk youth after school and during the summer, paints commissions for clients across the country and holds art camps throughout the year in Baytown.

Simien has extensive experience with oil paint, acrylic, prismacolor, pencil, charcoal, watercolor, AutoCad, VectorWorks, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Simien is inspired by his favorite artist Clementine Hunter — the granddaughter of a slave in Natchitoches. Hunter gathered scraps of painting materials left behind at Melrose Plantation and created paintings that portrayed everyday life through the eyes of a farm hand. She never learned to read or write and never had any formal training — yet she still pursued her passion for art. Today, her paintings are widely regarded as a staple of African American folk art, especially in Louisiana.

The Gallery’s hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays. For more information, visit or call 439-2787.