Friday, November 1, 2019
HELEN LAFRANCE CELEBRATES HER 100TH BIRTHDAY NOVEMBER 2ND, 2019
CELEBRATED American artist HELEN LAFRANCE will turn 100 years of age November 2, 2019 in her hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky. Known best for her memory paintings which recall her life and times that span an entire century, she will be the subject of a new documentary film called Helen LaFrance: Memories. The film will be shown at 11 a.m. at her childhood church St. James A.M.E., where a mural she painted in 1947 is on view. The party moves on at 1 pm to Smith Presbyterian Church, 318 S. 5th Street.
LaFrance's work has been held in numerous museums and collected by American art connoisseurs including Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Bryant Gumbel and contemporary superstar Red Grooms. She has starred in several documentaries and received the prestigious Folk Heritage Award, one of the Governor's Awards in the Arts presented by the Kentucky Arts Council. She is featured in my anthology Outsider Art of the South and in my book Helen LaFrance Folk Art Memories.
Born in 1919, Helen has observed a century of American history, growing up in rural Graves County, KY under the laws of Jim Crow and segregation. She witnessed the Great Depression, the Great Migration, the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. Her particular vision and unique artistry have made her an authentic American voice and an important American artist.
Happy birthday, Helen! What a life you've led! We are blessed that you have shared it with us through the unforgettable gift of your art.