Gifted hands, William Artis
William. E. Artis
*On this date in 1914 William Ellisworth Artis was born. He was an African-American artist.
From Washington, N.C. young Artis moved to New York in 1927. He studied sculpture and pottery at Augusta Savage Studios in the early 1930s and was a part of the Harmon Foundation exhibition in 1933. He received the John Hope Prize, which led to a scholarship at the Art Students League in 1933-34. Artis was hired by Audrey McMahon, the director of the College Art Association, along with several other artists to teach crafts and paint murals in churches and community centers.
In 1950 he received his Bachelors in Fine Arts, and in 1951 his Masters in Fine Arts from Syracuse University, where he studied with the sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. From 1956 to 1966 he was Professor of Ceramics at Nebraska Teachers College after which he was Professor of Art at Mankato State College until 1975. During this time a joint retrospective exhibition with his works was held in 1971 at Fisk University. He is also featured in Against the Odds, an exhibition of African American Artists from the Harmon Foundation.
His works can also be found at Atlanta University, the Whitney Museum, the Two Centuries of Black American Art exhibited and collected by Fisk University, Hampton University, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and private collectors. William Ellisworth Artis died in 1977.
The St. James Guide to Black Artist
Edited by Thomas Riggs
Copyright 1997, St. James Press, Detroit, MI
Today in American History