Walt Neil: Until We Meet Again

Design by Walt Neil.

Greetings my fellow artists. I want to take this great opportunity to say, “Until we meet again” to a great artist and, most of all, a great friend: Walt “Wali” Neil. I met Wali, as I called him, back in 2006 upon winning second place in a Sankofa art event. In 2006, I had finally given my Self permission to be an artist and nothing else, but I had not a clue of which way to go, or how to get there. Wali endeared himself to me by “showing me the way” to get my art out there. Thank you, Wali! As I grew artistically and professionally and got into doors of opportunities that are not always readily open for African American Artists, I often asked other African American Artists to come with me, and Wali never hesitated. He would simply ask, “Where do you want me to go and when do you want me to be there?”

At age 66, Walt “Wali” Neil, took his Solar transition around the sun peacefully on Sunday, June 21, 2020, during the Summer Solstice, after succumbing to cancer.

Wali, as he is affectionately known, was born February 19, 1954, in Columbus, Ohio. He was an Ohio mural and visual artist, singer extraordinaire, drummer, educator and citizen of the world. His murals have been a part of the community landscape in Columbus, Cleveland, and Euclid; Atlanta, Georgia; and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He was also an accomplished vocalist, drummer, and teacher of the arts. He believed in the goodness of humanity and became a citizen of the world, but a lover of the African Diaspora, where he taught art and music courses in the fishing villages of Ngor in Senegal, West Africa. He was a consultant to Harambee II, Wholistic Stress Control Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. His art has been seen at the King Art Complex in Columbus, Ohio. He worked as an artist-in-residence at the African American Museum, was a participant artist in the Chalk Festival at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and showed his work at both Cleveland and Euclid city halls and libraries. Several of his murals can be found at the Shore Cultural Centre in Euclid, the city where he resided with his beloved wife, Denise Goodrich Neil, for nineteen years.

Wali was an “Artist of the Spirit” who majored in commercial art. His mentors were the likes of inspired artists Tom Pannell, Ed Colston and Bill Agnew, who all ushered his consciousness into the most challenging profession on earth: “being an African American Artist in America!!!”

“I love you Wali, and my Soul and Heart are glad that our journeys were divinely intertwined!”

Gwendolyn Garth, Creative Art Therapy Specialist And Founder of Kings & Queens of Art