A genius and dreamer on canvas, Minnie Evans
Minnie Evans was born on this date in 1892. She was an African American artist.
Minnie Jones was born and raised in a log cabin in Long Creek, Pender County, North Carolina, to Ella Jones, later Ella Jones Kelly. She and her mother moved to Wilmington in early 1893. Minnie left school after the fifth grade to work as a "sounder,” selling oysters and clams door-to-door.
In 1908, at the age of 16, she married Julius Evans. Together, they raised three sons Elisha Dyer, David Barnes, and George Sheldon. Throughout her life, even in childhood, Minnie experienced visions but did not begin to record them until 1935 when she created her first two drawings.
It wasn't until 1940 that she began to gradually create crayon and pencil and ink drawings on small sheets of paper. Later, she added oil painting as a medium to record her visions. Described as visionary and raw (self-taught), her art expresses dreams and visions of religious faith, which she called her guarantee of love.
Evans began working as the gatekeeper at Airlie Gardens in 1948. From its gatehouse, she sold her drawings and paintings to interested visitors. Evans got her first gallery exhibition in New York City in 1966. Since then, her work has been featured in the Art Image Gallery in New York City and the Portal Gallery in London. A permanent exhibit of her works at St. John's Museum of Art includes three paintings by this gifted, internationally known artist.
Newsweek magazine once described Ms. Evans as "breathtakingly gifted" and a "beautiful dreamer.” A documentary entitled The Angel That Stands By Me: Minnie Evans' Art was produced in 1983. Minnie Evans died in 1987 at the age of 95.
A History of African-American Artist from 1792 to present
by Romare Bearden & Harry Henderson
Copyright 1993 by Romare Bearden & Harry Henderson
Pantheon Books, NY
Today in American History