Our History

Thunderbird by Dr. Camellia Blackwell

Camellia A. Blackwell, M.F.A, M.Ed., Ph.D. is the Executive Director of The International Center for Artistic Development, Inc., With more than 33 years of experience as a fine artist, arts educator, and arts administrator, she founded the International Center for Artistic Development, Inc., a non profit organization in order to sponser the first visual arts exchange between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the United States in 1990. This cross cultural exchange project took place between the years of 1990 to 1994.

Support from Chevron Petroleum Overseas Corporation, Cummins Engine Foundation, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning, United States Information Agency, Secretary of State James Baker, as well as many other sponsors provided the opportunity for Kazakh artists to travel to Washington D.C. and Maryland and participate in the opening exhibitions for their paintings, sculpture, and jewelry at the the U.S. Senate Rotunda Gallery, the Main Gallery at Montpelier Cultural Arts Center, and the James E. Lewis Museum of Art at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Young Niagara Indian Fancy Dancer

Other international partnership projects with Sister Cities International, took Dr. Blackwell on artist exhanges to Cergy Pontoise, France, and Tres Cantos, Spain. Addiltionally she has collaborated on art projects in Alaska with Athabaskan American Indians at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, and in West African, (Senegal, the Gambia, and Nigeria), Eastern Europe, Hungary, and Scandinavia, Finland and Sweden where she worked with the indigenous people studying their textiles, and printmaking techniques.

During the years 2000-2005, ICAD produced the May Arts Expo, an international gathering of peoples celebrating cultural diversity with an American Indian Powwow, diverse fine artists and crafters, performing artists, dancers, musicians, face painters, storytellers, and an antique and classic automobile show at Historic Savage Mill.

This annual festival event promoted more than 500 artists & crafters, performers, musicians, singers, dancers, and car show participants.  More than 10,000 people have attended, and experienced, or enjoyed the festival either in person or on  television and radio programs that filmed and advertised the event.