M. Saffell Gardner is a multifaceted artist with a rich academic background, holding both BFA and MFA degrees in painting from Wayne State University. Beyond his reputation as a painter, he is a versatile creator—delving into mixed media art, sculpture, muralism, videography, art history, curation, lecturing, and education. Gardner’s passion extends to teaching at private and community colleges while actively engaging in arts mentoring programs.
In 2015, Gardner received the prestigious Kresge Fellowship, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the arts. His artistic journey includes notable milestones such as a survey exhibit at Gallery 9338 Campau in 2014 and participation in renowned events like Artprize in the same year. Notably, he was invited to showcase his work at “The Venice Biennale 2013,” a significant recognition of his talent and vision.
His curation skills shone through in co-curating “Vision in a Cornfield” for the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, showcasing his ability to shape compelling artistic narratives. In 2000, Gardner was honored as the Chivas Regal Artist in Residence at the Charles H. Wright Museum, a pivotal moment that led to the creation of the commissioned painting “Door of No Return,” now a part of the museum’s esteemed permanent collection.
Gardner’s artistic footprint extends beyond galleries and museums into the fabric of Detroit’s public spaces. Notable commissions include a painted receptacle for Detroit’s “Pretty City” project, Memorial Blanket, a sculpture for Detroit rePatched, as well as major works adorning the COBO Center and Detroit Public Schools. His pieces have found their place in the esteemed collections of institutions such as The Henry Ford Hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield, DMC, Total Healthcare, The Federal Reserve Chicago, and various high schools like Renaissance, Southeastern, and Detroit School of the Arts.
His artistic journey has been international, with exhibitions spanning across the United States, Jamaica, Brazil, and Ghana, Africa, showcasing the universal appeal and impact of his work.
Works in the Park
- Gateway to Black Eden