Dressler Smith is a painter and pastel colorist who favors tranquil landscapes and ethnic images, crediting the inspiration of her art to “the beauty of things created by God and not by man.” She captures that beauty in a way which invokes both awe and reverence, and is designed to touch the human spirit.
Many of her works focus on landscapes of sunrises, morning light and morning skies which, for her, symbolize new beginnings. She has chosen pastel as her primary medium because of its vibrancy. The clean, rich colors of pure pigment, combined with her affinity for nature and all things spiritual, result in landscapes filled with peace and tranquility, and a place to start anew.
In addition to her work as a painter, Dressler is developing recognition as an artist in designing stained glass windows. A sample of her stained glass designs, Sunday Morning, created for St. John Baptist Church in East Camden, NJ, is available on this site. Currently, she is designing stained glass windows for the First Nazarene Baptist Church in Camden, NJ, and for the Asbury United Methodist Church in Woodlynne, NJ.
Dressler dreamed of becoming a professional artist from the time she was a small child. After attending art classes in the Philadelphia Art Museum, Fleisher’s Art Memorial and the Hussian School of Art, she received her B.F.A. from Moore College of Art in 1980. Currently, this remarkable painter continues to pursue her passion for artistic expression while sharing lessons learned with others as an adjunct faculty member at Camden County College and through artist in residence programs in New Jersey.
Residing in southern New Jersey, Dressler is represented by Artworks Gallery in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her work has been exhibited by Johnson & Johnson, Dow Jones and the New York City Port Authority, as well as the Franklin Institute Science Museum and the Footsteps Gallery in Philadelphia. Additional pieces are in the private collections of a number of corporations, including Blue Cross / Blue Shield of Pennsylvania, Verizon Telephone and Rutgers University. She continues to participate actively in art shows, including the 30th anniversary exhibit, “Silent Voices, Loud Echoes,” at the African American Museum of Philadelphia.
Among her recent accomplishments, the Campbell Soup Foundation commissioned Dressler during 2004 to create a 4’ x 9’ Tryptic commemorating 30 years of summer programs for children. Also through the Campbell Soup Foundation, she donated a paper quilt done with school children in Camden, NJ.
Dressler was selected to create “The Future of Camden,” as one section of a three-part mural for Camden’s newly restored City Council chambers. The completed panels — each 17 ft. tall by 6.5 ft. wide — are the primary focal point of the room, which was rededicated on April 2, 2003.
During 2001, Dressler was selected to create an original work, “Transformation,”specifically for the Executive Leadership Conference ; a copy of the painting was given to each attendee at their annual banquet in Washington, D.C. She was also a featured artist in the May, 2001, edition of Essence Magazine.
Dressler has continually given back to the communities that have provided her with a rich source of inspiration. In recent years, she donated one of her pieces to Paine College, a historically black college in Augusta, GA. In October, 2000, Dressler was the featured artist for the Arthritis Foundation’s South Jersey Art Show. A portion of her proceeds from the show were donated to benefit the foundation’s research and quality of life program. And her magnificent series of 21 stained glass windows, titled “Sunday Morning,” was a gift to her church.
In prior years, she received the Applause Award from the Markheim Art Center in Haddonfield, NJ, for her achievements in visual art. Additional awards include the 1993 Candace Award from the Coalition of 100 Black Women and, in 1996, the Chisholm Award for achievement in art from the Philadelphia Congress of the National Political Congress of Black Women. In 1995, she designed the cover for the Days of Hope Calendar sponsored by Core States Bank, for which they received the Pepper Pot Award.