Kenwood student wins MSI art contest

Arthur Roby with his prize-winning painting of Young Thug. (Photo courtesy of Geafro Roby photo)

Contributing writer

The 2019 Black Creativity Program, an annual commodity at the Museum of Science and Industry, located 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, since 1970, began Jan. 14 with the Juried Art Exhibition, the longest running gallery of African American art. The Juried Art Exhibition kicked off a series of events throughout January and February that celebrate achievements of African American creators and pioneers.

Fifteen-year-old Arthur D. Roby entered two pieces in the competition.  Both were paintings of music figures. The first was a painting of rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer Young Thug; the second was of another rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur, Eazy-E. To Roby’s delight, his painting of Young Thug won first place by a panel of five jurors. He also won $500. He was notified of the news Jan. 26 by the Black Creativity Gala. This event raises money to support the annual Black Creativity program at the Museum of Science and Industry.

“I picked these two artists because I know that a lot of people my age don’t really understand those two artists because of their images,” said Roby. He continued “I was surprised and happy at the same time. I didn’t think that I was going to win because there were many talented artists there.”

Roby’s parents, Dana and Geafro Roby, knew that he would be a good artist from a very young age.

His father, Geafro Roby, said: “I would only buy coloring books, tracing books, and grammar books on how to properly write letters in cursive. If he wanted to go outside, he needed to trace or paint something.”

Roby and his family have been Hyde Park residents for majority of their lives. He his currently a sophomore at Kenwood Academy High School. He was at De La Salle Institute at first because he had received an academic scholarship from the school. But his father transferred him from there because he felt that it wasn’t a good fit there for him. Roby won an art competition in kindergarten and first grade. He even won the Best Artist award in eighth grade.

“I’m putting him in any and every competition. He wants his own art gallery on South Shore Drive,” said Geafro Roby.

Roby wants to go to Morehouse College after he finishes his last two years in high school. But as all parents would know and say, especially Roby’s father, “go where they give you the most money.”

He is now putting together 10 paintings to be shown this upcoming summer. They will focus on various people in hip hop that have different influences.