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Lilian Thomas Burwell

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Information about Lilian Thomas Burwell

Profile image of Lilian Thomas Burwell

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Painter
High School Art Teacher

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Whatever You Can Dream You Can Do, You Can Begin It For Courage Has Power, Genius, And Power In It.

Birthplace

Born:
6/7/1927
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Painter
High School Art Teacher

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Whatever You Can Dream You Can Do, You Can Begin It For Courage Has Power, Genius, And Power In It.

Birthplace

Born:
6/7/1927
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Lilian Thomas Burwell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Artist Lilian Thomas Burwell was born in Washington, D.C. on June 7, 1927. After completing junior high school, Burwell attended the prestigious High School of Music and Art in New York City, but moved to Washington, D.C., before graduating. Burwell went on to earn her high school diploma from Dunbar High School in 1944.

Burwell had a strong desire to be an artist, however, society, and her family, felt that she would be unable to support herself. One of Burwell's aunts believed in her though, and together they reached a compromise with her family: she would become an art teacher. In 1946, Burwell completed her studies at the Pratt Institute; she would later earn her B.A. from the D.C. Teacher’s College. Burwell went on to earn her M.F.A. in 1975 from Catholic University.

Throughout her career, Burwell taught at the Pratt Institute; in the Washington, D.C. public schools; and at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Between 1964 and 1967, Burwell served as the publication and exhibits specialist for the Department of Commerce. In 1983, Burwell founded the Alma Thomas Memorial Gallery where she served as curatorial director for the next year. As an artist, Burwell's works have been included in public and private collections around the world; she was also invited to participate in numerous group and one-woman shows. Burwell went on to become the owner of Burwell Studios, which exhibited her works.

In addition to being an active lecturer in her field, Burwell also published articles on art, and served on the board of directors of the Smithsonian Institution Renwick Alliance and the Arlington Arts Centers. Burwell also served as the curatorial director of the Summer Museum Archives in Washington, D.C., and was the recipient of several awards, including the Excellence in Arts/D.C. Commission on the Arts Individual Artist Award in 1998.

See how Lilian Thomas Burwell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lilian Thomas Burwell's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lilian Thomas Burwell lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes her mother's work and personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes her father's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes her father's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes her family's move to New York, New York in the late 1920s and her father's photography
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lilian Thomas Burwell lists the places she lived in New York, New York during her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New York, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes the educational philosophy followed by the Little Red School House in New York, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lilian Thomas Burwell explains how her father taught her to question authority and talks about his education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lilian Thomas Burwell compares her personality to her mother's personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about the evolution of her spirituality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lilian Thomas Burwell lists the schools she attended in New York, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her father's employment
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes her educational experiences and struggles with math
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lilian Thomas Burwell explains why she completed high school in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her early interest in art
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her daughter's decision to attend Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about the social climate of Dunbar High School and Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes her experience studying art in high school in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her educational influences at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her decision to attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about dropping out of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, New York to get married
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lilian Thomas Burwell reflects upon her unsuccessful marriage and her philosophy on making mistakes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her teaching career and earning her B.A. and M.F.A. degrees
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her foray into exhibition art
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lilian Thomas Burwell explains how she financially supported her career and began building furniture
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about constructing a bed for her daughter
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about working with Benjamin Abramowitz
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her painting process, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her painting process, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes constructing a mirror when her mother was ill with leukemia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes some of her art pieces, including her process for their construction
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes one of her sculptures, 'Masai,' and her sculptural painting technique
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes the type of paint she uses
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her art philosophy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lilian Thomas Burwell shares people's responses to her art
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lilian Thomas Burwell explains how she names her pieces
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about African American art collectives
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about working on an art commission for Northern Trust in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about submitting her artwork to exhibitions as an African American artist
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her aunt, Hilda Wilkinson Brown, including her influence as an artist, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lilian Thomas Burwell talks about her aunt, Hilda Wilkinson Brown, including her influence as an artist, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lilian Thomas Burwell reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes her hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lilian Thomas Burwell reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lilian Thomas Burwell describes how she would like to be remembered