Big Things for Knoxville, TN
Have you ever had an experience that was just too cool, and you had to share?
Well, that happened for me last Friday evening.
I had the honor of dining with Dr. Monique Wells from Paris, France. And let me say that her presence in Knoxville will be one that I will never forget. As I sat beside her, the
Director of the Knoxville Museum of Art - David Butler, and an intimate group of Art House members at Bistro by the Tracks I was quickly reminded why Knoxville is the most amazing place to belong. I heard stories of an artist born from our small town in 1901, his travels and adventures through the US and on to Paris where he spent the later years of his life. Beauford Delaney was his name. If you don’t know who he was, don’t worry, you will soon! Because Dr. Wells and the Knoxville Museum of Art are determined to share and educate our community on this amazing and influential American born modernist painter.
Monique shared her passion of Beauford. Dedicating part her life to connecting the dots to this man. How she discovered his unmarked grave in a crowded Parisian cemetery that could have been lost forever. She dug through old articles and set out to uncover individuals that might have come in contact with the painter through his years in Paris all in hopes to rediscover his hidden artwork and to tell his story. She created Les Amis de Beauford Delaney (Friends of Beauford Delaney) a French non-profit association dedicated to raise funds to save his burial ground and place a tombstone. As crazy as it sounds... In France if your family does not pay dues to a cemetery annually you have the opportunity of being dug up and moved into a community burial plot. His dues had not been paid in years and she found him just in time!
Beauford was an interesting man who struggled but continued to create and show the world a perspective of his evolving life through relationships and Art. Many of which were here in Knoxville. From his southern roots, family and friends, the East Tennessee landscapes and colors, all of this shaping the man he became. Isn’t that what we want our kids to know!? That you can be anything and go anywhere your heart takes you, no matter the time or situation. Isn't that the most precious lesson to learn? To look at the friendships you have made and how far you have come.
Because of Dr. Monique Wells, Knoxville has a story to share, and an important one at that. She has made many new
friendships on her journey (including mine) that will carry on her stories and bring our community closer together.
The Knoxville Museum of Art is home to several of Beauford's pieces and through Monique and David's collaboration they plan to raise the money to bring many more newly discovered treasures back from Paris to his hometown. You can see some of his works at the KMA now but we hope to see the Paris Show come to life in the Fall of 2018. This is with no small feat and will take many countless hours and funds from believers locally and afar. If you feel inspired to donate (like me!) please click the link below, reach out to Dr. Wells to see how you can help!
Help us bring Beauford home.