Echoes of Equality: Art Inspired by Memphis and Maya


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By Daron Wolf




Daron Wolf's "Ruby"

Acrylic and papier mâché, April 2024
12” x 16”


"Ruby" captures the historic moment of Ruby Bridges’ first day at a desegregated school in 1960. This powerful image not only pays tribute to Ruby’s bravery, but also sheds light on the ongoing issue of segregation in Milwaukee’s public school system. Despite the moderate progress made since 1960, it is disheartening to see the Milwaukee area continue to struggle with segregation in schools.

"Through this art piece, I hope to spark conversations and inspire change in our community." - Daron Wolf

"1968 Olympics – A Peaceful Protest"


1968 Olympics – A peaceful protestby Daron Wolf

Acrylic and papier mâché
January 2024
14” x 14”


There's a part of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s story that is widely unrecognized and unmentioned. He had a fairly large impact on Black athletes. King recognized the influence that athletics and athletes had on the country, and he worked to make athletics a vessel to push his movement onto a broader stage.

King understood the power of sports, and he believed that the Black athlete had a role to play in redeeming the soul of America. He thought successful Black athletes who publicly persevered on the field of play helped the cause by serving as nonviolent symbols of successful integration.

John Carlos and Tommie Smith, both qualified for the Olympics, and King supported them when they said they wanted to boycott the Olympics for the civil rights movement.

That year, prior to the summer Olympics, Dr. King was shot and killed in Memphis while fighting for equality. King’s death inspired the Black athletes to change their stance, participate in the ‘68 Olympics and use their platform to continue King’s mission. This ultimately led to Carlos and Smith's iconic peaceful protest during the playing of the national anthem, often regarded as one of the most important political statements in history. 

Even now, 50+ years later, sports are the most progressive parts of our society, and though they are not perfect, King’s role in the development of equality through athletics cannot be overlooked.



"Maya" by Daron Wolf

Acrylic and papier mâché,
January 2024
12” x 16”


"Maya" is inspired by Maya Angelou’s story of triumph over tragedy. As 2024 begins, this piece is a reminder to be strong and not defeated by adverse situations/circumstances.

Author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou grew up in a world that was against her. As a Black woman growing up in America in the 1930s and 1940s, she faced tremendous hardships surrounding systemic racism and racial prejudice. On top of that, Maya also suffered from unthinkable abuses as a child.

Although she was up against great adversity, she went on to create critical works that promoted Black culture, and she inspired other African-American artists to tell their stories. Additionally, she played an important role in the civil rights movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Her story is truly inspiring and demonstrates the power of the individual.

© Daron Wolf

The Artist's Statement

Daron Wolf

Daron Wolf, photograph by Michaela Beal

The inspiration behind my latest art pieces was born out of a recent trip to Memphis. During my time in the city, I immersed myself in its rich history, particularly focusing on significant locations and events that have shaped the cultural landscape of the area.

One of the most impactful experiences during my trip was visiting the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Standing in that place, I felt a deep sense of reverence and reflection on the sacrifices made in the pursuit of equality and justice. The visit to B.B. King's Blues Club also left a lasting impression on me, as I was enveloped in the soulful melodies that have echoed through the streets of Memphis for generations.

Through guided tours and conversations with locals, I delved into the complex history of racism, music, and pivotal moments that have defined Memphis and the broader southern region. The weight of this history was palpable, and I was compelled to channel my emotions and reflections into art as a means of communication and education.

In addition, I have an admiration for the profound words and enduring legacy of Maya Angelou. Her wisdom and resilience have served as a guiding light for me, especially in times of uncertainty and challenge.

Maya Angelou's journey from adversity to empowerment resonates deeply with me. Her unyielding spirit and commitment to social justice have inspired me to seek out quotes that serve as a source of motivation and reflection in my daily life. Among the myriad of voices that I have encountered, it is Maya Angelou's words that consistently speak to my soul and propel me forward.

As a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, I am aware of the pervasive issue of segregation that continues to afflict our community. The stark reality of this division has compelled me to explore and confront this issue through my art. In particular, I have been drawn to the story of Ruby's first day, a powerful narrative that encapsulates the profound impact of segregation on individuals and communities.

As someone relatively new to the world of art, having taken up painting as a hobby during the pandemic, I view my creations as a language that can convey messages and spark dialogue. The art pieces I have developed seek to shed light on the struggles of the past while also celebrating the progress we have made as a society. They serve as a reminder that despite how far we have come, there is still work to be done in addressing the lingering effects of our shared history.

I believe that art has the power to provoke thought and inspire meaningful conversations. My hope is that these pieces not only prompt viewers to reflect on the past but also encourage them to engage in constructive dialogues that propel us towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

I am honored for this opportunity to share my art with all of you.  Thank you for taking the time to read about my journey and I hope you enjoy the art pieces that have emerged from it.

Instagram @Daron.Wolf.5


Biography of the Artist, Daron Wolf


Daron Wolf is married to his beautiful wife Amanda Wolf, with their wedding taking place on August 21, 2010, at New Berlin Hills Golf Course. He was born and raised in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he currently resides. Daron Wolf attended and graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with an undergraduate degree in Business Management. He further pursued his education at Concordia University, Mequon, where he obtained his MBA with an emphasis in Marketing.

Professionally, Daron Wolf has held various roles. He began his career as an Assistant Teacher and progressed to the position of Dean of Student Services at an inner-city high school in Milwaukee. Following this role, he gained experience in the House and Hospitality industry, retail, entry-level marketing, and higher education. Currently, Daron Wolf serves as the Senior Marketing Manager at the Marcus Performing Arts Center in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Additionally, he actively participates on the board of directors with TBEY Arts Center, Inc. and has been involved in various DEI committees in the past.

Daron's goal is to continue to serve as an example to others on never giving up on your dreams and goals. I am seeking to continue to make a positive impact on individuals on a larger scale.

“The first step is to understand and appreciate that the journey is as important as the destination.”




Ruby Bridges
Through My Eyes, by Ruby Bridges
I Am Ruby Bridges, by Ruby Bridges and Illustrated by Nicholas Smith

1968 Olympics Protest
Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice, by Tommie Smith
Something in the Air: American Passion and Defiance in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, by Ricard Hoffer

Maya Angelou
And Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou
I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou