Donita Simpson – Portraiture: Detroit Area Artists

Donita Simpson’s portraits of Detroit area artists reflect her love of people, her knowledge of the area art community, and the importance she places on art and artists in the culture of Detroit and the region. For many years, Donita has made a practice of creating portraits of emerging and established artists in the area. She photographs her subjects in personal environments and private spaces, in their studios or surrounded by personal objects in their homes. The environments, combined with the way the subjects are posed, offer insight into the character of the artist.

Donita Simpson

Gilda Snowden, Portrait by Donita Simpson

In a personal statement, Donita says, “Portraying artists has been my focus for many years. Questions about who makes art and why, propelled me to seek out artists and try to provide answers.  The photographic series that has materialized as a result of this motivation is both reinforcing and refreshing. I make photographs simply because I must. I find purpose and meaning in the experience, the process and the production of the photograph.”

Donita Simpson has earned her Masters of Fine Art and her Masters of Education at Wayne State University. Her photographs have been presented in solo and group shows all over the United States, in Canada and Italy. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, and is included in prominent art collections, including the Tweed Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Paint Creek Center for the Arts is proud to present a solo show of Donita Simpson’s portraits. Many of the artists depicted in these photographs have themselves exhibited their work at PCCA over the years. In a sense, this series of portraits brings us full circle and offers a look at the larger community of artists in the region.

Please join us in welcoming Donita Simpson at an opening reception on Friday, April 18 at 6:00 pm. We will host a gallery talk on Saturday, April 19 at 2:00 pm. The opening reception is part of the Downtown Rochester Spring Gallery Stroll. The opening reception and gallery talk are free and open to the public. Visitors will enjoy an opportunity to meet the artists and gain some insight into their works.

This exhibit is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kresge Foundation.                    

The mission of Paint Creek Center for the Arts is to enhance life in the region by promoting, encouraging and creating opportunities to participate in and appreciate the arts. Paint Creek Center for the Arts is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00am to 7:00pm, Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm, and Saturday, 10:00am to 4:00pm. PCCA is located at 407 Pine Street in downtown Rochester at the intersection of Pine and Fourth Streets. For information on exhibits, classes, the Art & Apples Festival, special events or volunteer opportunities, call 248-651-4110 or visit

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at

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