Monday, July 7, 2008

My grandmother's home at 3219 S Calumet

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1890's, 
the Robert W Rolston Homes 
was one of the only row houses that Wright constructed.

At 3219......
Growing up in Bronzeville included spending lots of time at my grandmother's home at 3219 S Calumet. My love for the architecture in Bronzeville started there at her home. I spent many years visiting family and hunting for Easter eggs in that huge mansion. 
My grandmother purchased the home in the 1940's and all her children lived there with their families. My mother's family lived in the home for thirty plus years into the late 1970's.

My grandmother had a great love for the arts and it was a home where she hosted many artistic people. My mother and her family were encouraged to pursue their artistic dreams there. Many artists and writers came to visit. My mother was an artist during the W.P.A. period and studied with the late George Neal, an African-American painter of that period. The spirit of the arts lives on in the home today, as it has been transformed by its owner currently into an art gallery named Neleh Galleries International.

My mother, (left) Annie Smith creates sculpture at the Ada S. McKinnley Center.

At the center, there was a colony of artists which included artists, George Neal, William Carter and the father of writer, Euseni Eugene Perkins, artist, Marion Perkins. 

My mother was a W.P.A. artist at the oldest art Center in the nation and in Bronzeville, the South Side Community Art Center on 38th and Michigan. 
Her friends and contemporaries included artist, Margaret Burroughs, Poet Laureate, Gwendolyn Brooks, writer, Langston Hughes and muralist, Bill Walker, creator of the Wall of Respect. She was also an artist who studied with and was painted in portrait by artist, George Neal in a painting titled " The Unfinished Portrait of Ann." 

Photos are from the AA Collection. c2008. All rights reserved.

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