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André Willis

Benny Andrews creates his art using a wide variety of materials, such as photocopies and stencils. His major contributions include Janitors at Rest (1957), constructed with paper towels and toilet paper; Autobiographical Series (1966), a series of ink drawings depicting black Southern life; Did the Bear Sit under the Tree? (1969), a painting that highlights political and racial conditions; Women I've Known (1976), a collage of spray paint through stencils and folded paper; and Flight (1981), a mural in the Hartman International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.

Born in Madison, Georgia Andrews served four years in the United States Air Force before beginning his formal art training He had shown promising artistic skill at a very young age by drawing cartoons and he developed a deep interest in art Andrews decided to attend the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois ...

Article

Joye Vailes Shepperd

artist, was born in Richmond, Virginia, to John and Ophelia Cortor. The following year the Cortors moved to Chicago, Illinois, as part of the Great Migration. In 1910 fewer than fifty thousand blacks lived in Chicago; by 1920 the number had tripled In search of a better education and environment for their son the Cortors first moved to the South Side home to a thriving African American community John Cortor operated a modest business installing electricity into homes and repairing small electrical appliances he eventually saved enough to open a grocery store and earned the luxury of indulging in his favorite pastimes A motorcycle enthusiast and a sportsman he also learned to pilot a small airplane He belonged to a group of pioneering African American pilots and prided himself on the fruits of his practical brand of hard work ingenuity and self determination Though John Cortor was not ...

Article

David C. Driskell

Edwin A. Harelston was born in Charleston, South Carolina. His father was a seaman, Captain Edwin Guillard Harleston, who became one of Charleston's leading undertakers and died at age seventy-six on April 21, 1931, shortly before his son's death. Edwin Agustus's early education did not prepare him for the career of an artist, even though he expressed interest in art at an early age. Instead he earned a B.A. degree in 1904 from Atlanta University in Georgia where he excelled in several sports From Atlanta he went with the blessings of his family to Harvard University in Massachusetts hoping to become a physician The urge to gain creative expression in the visual arts outweighed his interest in medicine however and he spent seven years studying at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts During his stay in Boston he pursued with distinction the study of anatomy ...

Article

Mary Anne Boelcskevy

painter and civil rights activist, was born in Charleston, South Carolina. “Teddy,” as he was called, was one of six children of Edwin Gailliard Harleston and Louise Moultre. Harleston's father, born in 1852, was one of eight children of the white plantation owner William Harleston and his slave Kate. Edwin Gailliard Harleston had worked as a rice planter but returned to Charleston and his family's Laurel Street home in search of a better living for his-wife and children. There he ran a produce-transporting business for a few years and then brought his nickname “Captain” along when he left boating in 1896 to set up the Harleston Brothers Funeral Home with his brother Robert Harleston a former tailor The segregated funeral business meant they would have no competition from whites Most of Captain s sons were uninterested in joining the business after their uncle Robert left however ...

Article

Ramon Bulerin

was born in the town of Carolina, Puerto Rico, on 21 October 1923. She was the fifth of eight children born to Raymundo Orta, a construction worker, and Cecilia Allende, a seamstress who knitted and embroidered by hand. Both from Carolina, they married in 1910. The family’s ancestry in Puerto Rico originated from Loíza, an area dedicated to the production of cassava and sugar by enslaved Africans until slavery’s abolition in 1873, and which continues to have a large Afro–Puerto Rican population.

Cecilia finished elementary and high school in Carolina and took painting classes under the tutelage of Carmelita González Córdoba from age 15 to 18. In 1941 during her college years she studied under the home economics program of the Universidad de Puerto Rico UPR earning an undergraduate degree in science At UPR she also studied painting with the Spanish painter Cristóbal Ruiz and piano ...

Article

Peter Szok

and the most important promoter of Panama’s diablos rojos (red devils), the fantastically painted buses of Colón and Panama City, was born in Panama City on 3 April 1955. He attended school through the sixth grade before dropping out to take up a number of menial jobs. Later he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas and earned a degree in studio art. Despite his training at the academy, Salazar’s instincts were those of an outsider artist, one whose inspiration came less from formal classes and more from older, well-known bus painters such as Teodoro de Jesús “Yoyo” Villarué, Virgilio Teodoro “Billy” Madriñán, and Rubén “El Precolombino” Darío Coya.

Bus art bloomed in the 1940s when thousands of US soldiers were stationed on the isthmus to protect the canal from a potential Axis attack Their presence sparked a period of rapid economic growth and fostered a nightlife rivaling ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

one of the most highly acclaimed portrait and mural artists of the twentieth century, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Edward Miles and Carolina Russell Scott.

Scott's paternal grandparents migrated from North Carolina to Indianapolis by ox cart in 1847, a journey he memorialized in his painting, Traveling (Lead Kindly Light), which appeared as the front cover illustration for the NAACP journal The Crisis in April 1918. During his late teens Scott lived with his widowed grandmother, Elisa Scott, who had been a teenager when she made the trek north with Scott's grandfather. .

Less than a decade before he was born, in 1877, an Indiana statute had provided that separate elementary schools be established for children of African descent. Scott had long since grown to adulthood before the first separate high school for children of African descent opened in Indianapolis, in 1927 ...

Article

Raul Zamudio

was born on 22 March 1949 in Mexico City, Mexico. Her parents were Rafael Tufiño, a Puerto Rican artist, and Luz Maria Aguirre, a Mexican dancer. After finishing secondary school in Puerto Rico, Tufiño studied from 1967 to 1970 at Mexico City’s prestigious Academy of San Carlos. It was during this time that she met the great Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siquieros, and this eventful encounter would inspire Tufiño to expand her artistic interests to mural production in addition to painting, printmaking, and ceramics. After graduating from the Academy of San Carlos in 1970, she moved to New York City, and the following year she continued her fine art studies at the Art Students League. Tufiño’s formal education culminated in 1983 with an M.S. degree in urban affairs from Hunter College, City University of New York.

Nurtured by her artistic parents and with an immense innate talent Tufiño s ...

Article

David Michel

artist, was born Charles Wilbert White in Chicago, to Charles White Sr., a Creek Indian and construction worker, and Ethelene Gary, a domestic worker originally from Mississippi, who had been working since the age of eight. White's parents never married, and after his father died, when Charles was eight, Ethel married Clifton Marsh, a factory worker and alcoholic. The couple divorced when Charles was in his early teens. White's mother encouraged her son's budding artistic voice, and their close relationship underlies his later works, especially images that put the African American woman at the center of black life. The chaos and poverty of his childhood was stabilized by Charles's interest and skill at drawing. He earned good grades until shortly after entering Englewood High School when, having discovered Alain Leroy Locke's The New Negro and other books by and about African Americans at the local ...

Article

Aaron Myers

Charles White was born in Chicago, Illinois to unmarried parents, Ethel Gary and Charles White, Sr., who separated when he was three years old. He was raised by his mother in Chicago. After winning a national pencil sketch contest in 1937, White attended the Art Institute of Chicago for a year, then worked as an artist in the Works Progress Administration during the late 1930s. In 1941, White traveled through the South on a Rosenwald Fellowship. The following year, he moved to New York, New York and studied at the Art Students League.

In 1944, while serving in the Army, White was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was hospitalized for three years. In 1947 he had his first one man show at the ACA Gallery in New York City after which he went to Mexico where he worked for nearly a year at the printmaking workshop ...

Article

Melissa A. Kerr

artist and educator, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, one of four children of Reginald and Violet Wilson, immigrants from British Guiana. Wilson's parents held working-class positions in the Boston area but were forced onto public relief at the onset of the Great Depression. In 1938 Wilson attended the Roxbury Boys Club, where he took art classes taught by graduate students from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. These students passed on the techniques of their teacher, the Russian émigré painter Alexandre Iacovleff, whose lessons stressed the meticulous rendering of the human form. Wilson's student drawings, often emulative of Iacovleff's conté crayon technique, were so impressive that his instructors brought a portfolio of his work to the attention of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, which led to a full scholarship in 1939.

At the School of the Museum of Fine Arts ...

Article

Amy Helene Kirschke

artist. Hale Aspacio Woodruff was born in Cairo, Illinois, but spent much of his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. After graduating from high school he attended the Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana. Like many of the Harlem Renaissance artists and indeed other serious American artists of any race, Woodruff traveled to Paris to receive the best training possible. He had the support of many patrons in Indianapolis and served as a correspondent for the Indianapolis Star newspaper, regularly sending home columns about his life in Paris.

Woodruff returned to the United States in 1931, when he was hired by Atlanta University to direct its art department. At Atlanta University, Woodruff was virtually a one-man department, with some help from artists such as Nancy Elizabeth Prophet He was one of a handful of studio art professors in the state of Georgia and also taught at Spelman College and ...

Article

American painter, printmaker, and teacher . He was a leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance ( see African American art §I 2. ) and studied at the John Herron Institute, Indianapolis, the school of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and the Académie Scandinave and the Académie Moderne, Paris. He also worked with Henry Ossawa Tanner in Paris (1931) and studied mural painting with Diego Rivera in Mexico City (1936 From the European schools he learnt strong composition and the narrative power of Goya He was concerned to amplify the problems of Black Americans and his murals influenced by Rivera carry sharp commentaries on subjects such as the poor social conditions of his compatriots and forebears in Georgia the Amistad slave uprising and the creation of Talladega College e g the Amistad Murals Talladega College AL In the South Woodruff discovered and ...

Article

Lisa E. Rivo

artist and teacher, was born in Cairo, Illinois, the only child of Augusta (Bell) Woodruff, a domestic worker, and George Woodruff, who died when his son was quite young. After his father's death, Woodruff and his mother moved to east Nashville, Tennessee. Art instruction was not available in his segregated public school, so Woodruff drew on his own, mostly copying from books, and later as a cartoonist for his high school newspaper.

After graduating from high school in 1918, Woodruff moved to Indianapolis, Illinois, where he held several menial jobs while living at the YMCA. From 1920 to 1922 he studied landscape painting with William Forsyth at the Herron School of Art, while drawing weekly cartoons for the local African American newspaper, The Indianapolis Ledger After a short stint in Chicago where he studied briefly at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago he returned ...

Article

Robert Fay

Hale Aspacio Woodruff was born in Cairo, Illinois. He attended public schools in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was raised by his mother. In 1920, he moved to Indianapolis to study art at the John Herron Art Institute, supporting himself with part-time work as a political cartoonist. He developed an interest in African art during this period, which influenced his later work. In 1926 Woodruff won a Harmon Foundation Award to study at the Académie Moderne de la Grande Chaumière in Paris from 1927 to 1931.

Woodruff returned to the United States in 1931 and founded the art department at Atlanta University where he helped to develop a cohesive national African American arts community In addition to teaching Woodruff brought exhibitions to Atlanta University that featured a wide range of past and present African American artists who were often excluded from mainstream art exhibitions To further promote African ...

Article

Caryn E. Neumann

a self-taught artist who rose from the slums to prominence as a muralist, was born in the historically black Liberty City section of Miami. His Bahamian mother encouraged him to draw spontaneously as a child. Unfortunately, he did not stick with drawing and, at eighteen, received a four-year sentence in Raiford State Prison in Florida for armed robbery. While behind bars, Young discovered a love for the arts. He started to draw again. Reading a book on Chicago mural artists shortly after his release prompted Young to realize that he could paint rather than stand on a street corner all day. He quickly began drawing and collaging books, taping up his walls with sketches and paintings, and covering scraps of wood, bottles, and carpet rolls with washes of color and exuberant figuration.

Young is a product of the popular mural movement that emerged in the late 1960s in black Chicano ...