News & Events

June 18, 2019

Growing up, Essie Bendolph Pettway was used to seeing the vibrant quilts her mother, Mary Lee Bendolph, sewed with the other quilters of Gee’s Bend, Ala., hanging over the cracks in their house to keep the cold winds out in the winter. “They had to do what they could to keep us warm,” said Pettway, who learned how to quilt as a child from Bendolph. “That’s how we kept warm, by quilts.” Bendolph’s quilts now hang in art museums around the country, including in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The museum recently acquired 15 quilts by artists from Gee’s Bend and neighboring towns from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, an Atlanta-based organization focused on preserving the work of contemporary African American artists in the South.

June 8, 2019

Ever since the categories of art brut and outsider art were first established decades ago, the work of women artists in a wide range of media — Aloïse Corbaz, Jeanne Tripier, Madge Gill, Anna Zemánková, Judith Scott, and more recent discoveries, such as Henriette Zéphir and Kazumi Kamae, among them—have played a central role in the public’s understanding of these related phenomena. In the United States, in addition to Scott’s strange, yarn-wrapped, mixed-media sculptures, the work of such female outsiders as Lee Godie, Janet Sobel, and Sister Gertrude Morgan has become prized by collectors; in recent decades, in the Deep South, the Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation has called attention to the creations of other self-taught women artists, especially those of African descent.

June 6, 2019

At its Annual Meeting in Philadelphia yesterday, the Board of Trustees of Souls Grown Deep affirmed the incorporation of a new entity, the Souls Grown Deep Community Partnership, which includes the existing Souls Grown Deep Foundation, to continue its work dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting the contributions of African American artists from the South, and the new Community Partnership as a parallel organization to formalize and expand its initiatives to improve socio-economic conditions in the communities that were and are home to the 160 artists represented in the Foundation’s collection.