Ria G’s bold original artwork on our front page every month.
More surprises for the thousands of neighbors who follow us in print: dynamic cover illustrations by Sheria Gregory, a Germantown artist and photographer who’ll be creating new art for every edition, inviting us all to share her uplifting, thoughtful perspectives.
Her work is also great to look at! We love how it punches up our new tabloid-style layout. We’re a monthly, after all, hardly a breaking news outlet. So goodbye headlines, hello eye candy.
We also think it’s awesome how Ria’s challenging herself with this gig – she really identifies more as a photographer than an illustrator. She’s been shooting weddings and events since 2018 through her business, Captured by Ria G. Then a few years ago, a friend asked her to do some drawings for a book he was working on, and this opened a creative window.
One book led to another, and another. And now our cover! “This is the first time though that I’m totally free to express myself,” she told us. At first, so much leeway seemed a little daunting, but as she worked on her illustration, she felt a story coming together along with the images. “I’ve always thought of myself as a doodler but now I’m excited to see how my art can speak to readers.”
We can’t wait to see what she has to say!
It’s a great time to be amplifying the voices of Black women in our area and across the country: they’re opening more new businesses, they’re launching more startups, they’re spearheading more innovation than any other racial demographic. Black women are the most educated group in the whole country – but also the most underfunded (for every dollar a white guy earns, she makes just 61 cents). Which makes this surge of Black Girl Magic all the more, well, magical.
Ria’s her own Renaissance woman, not just an artist but an athlete as well — a key player on her women’s league basketball team. She’s also connected to a whole network of Black women entrepreneurs on Instagram, and in real life she’s been driving a SEPTA bus for more than a decade. She’s philosophical about her new Local post, “I’m a free-spirited creative happy to try my hand at something very different from what I normally do.”
ABOUT JULY’S COVER:
My illustration represents the controversy between Juneteenth and July 4th. I wanted to showcase a belief depiction of these two holidays, the in-between, and how things are currently. July 4th signifies freedom in America, but in 1776 it wasn’t a day of freedom for all Americans, primarily African Americans. Juneteenth is the celebration of the emancipation of enslaved people, it took place in 1863, but it wasn’t established until 1865. While our nation still fights for equality for all, Juneteenth is now recognized as a federal holiday in America.
Thank you, Ria, for taking a chance and getting in here with us! We’re proud to put your artwork, front and center, on our paper. Flip to Page 2 in every edition, for Ria G’s take on that month’s illustration. Comment online or email firstname.lastname@example.org to lay your feedback on us.
Check out Ria’s photography on her website capturedbyriag.com, where she’s arranged her favorite stand-outs into three categories: performances, events and portraits. She’s got a thing for candid shots, and a real knack for catching the action at just the right moment.
Keep an eye on Ria’s Insta, too: @captured.by.ria — she’s always posting interesting stuff: podcasts, parties, photoshoots… Stay tuned at the Local, always, for more from this multi-talented neighbor.