It is with profound sadness that we share with you that Robert Akeke Carroll, artist and longtime Armory educator, passed away on August 7th. On behalf of the Armory community, we extend our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and students. Akeke holds a special place in our hearts. A memorial service will be held at the Armory Center for the Arts on Saturday, September 28th from 1:30 to 4:00. Please, kindly RSVP to Vicki A. Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 626-201-9771.
Akeke’s close relationship with the Armory community began in 1978, during the organization’s years as the Pasadena Art Workshops. Reflecting on his 35 year tenure as an Armory Teaching Artist, there are many qualities and contributions that come to mind. Foremost is his studio practice, a fusion of African and African-American experience expressed through an exploration of multi-media arts, which influenced his teaching practice. As Akeke explained in his own words, “I believe that the years of experience, research, practical application of various art forms and association with other professional artists and teachers has allowed me to apply many techniques to my teaching. I have studied painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and Batik. Also, my work in the public art arena -- mural painting being an example -- has allowed me to bring my experience working with various age groups and community members to my teaching practice.”
He was passionate about teaching and making a difference in the community. He had an incredible capacity to connect with students of diverse backgrounds, ages, and artistic abilities. Looking back on his life, one can only imagine that his devotion to youth in particular was influenced by his own interest in drawing and painting that began at a very early age. He was encouraged by his mother who was a lover of modern art, and he was particularly influenced by one of his art professors whose visits to Africa left a strong impression with him. He was a wonderful mentor of teens working as artist assistants in the Armory’s community programs. Akeke was also instrumental in helping the Armory secure grant awards to support arts education programming in Northwest Pasadena – always available to meet with foundation representatives and advocate for those he served in the community.
He will be remembered with great fondness for his beautiful personality and immense creative spirit. Akeke will be deeply missed.
Slade Bellum, Elisa Laris and Jon Lapointe
Acting Executive Team