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Wadsworth A. Jarrell, Sr.

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Information about Wadsworth A. Jarrell, Sr.

Profile image of Wadsworth A. Jarrell, Sr.

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Painter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Orange, Purple, Yellow
Favorite Food:
Vegetables, Shellfish
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Venice, Italy
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/20/1929
Birth Location:
Albany, Georgia

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Painter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Orange, Purple, Yellow
Favorite Food:
Vegetables, Shellfish
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Venice, Italy
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/20/1929
Birth Location:
Albany
See how Wadsworth A. Jarrell, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Revolutionary social artist Wadsworth A. Jarrell, Sr. was born in Albany, Georgia, in 1929, the youngest of six children. Jarrell credits his father, a furniture maker, and the rest of his family for supporting his childhood interest in art. After high school, Jarrell enlisted in the army, served in Korea, and then moved to Chicago. In 1954, Jarrell enrolled in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago majoring in advertising art and graphic design. Not long afterward, Jarrell lost interest in commercial art and took more drawing and painting classes.

Graduating from the Art Institute in 1958, Jarrell spent several years working as a commercial artist. By the early 1960s, Jarrell was exhibiting his work widely throughout the Midwest. Meanwhile, the explosive social atmosphere of the era left him wanting to create art that was pertinent to the social movements of the day, the Civil Rights Movement and black liberation struggle. Jarrell joined the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), a group that created Chicago's Wall of Respect mural, a seminal piece in the 1960s urban mural movement. It was there that he met his future wife, Elaine Annette (Jae) Johnson, a clothing designer. With the eventual breakup of the Artists' Workshop of OBAC, Jarrell and fellow artists Jeff Donaldson and Barbara Jones-Hogu, among others, formed a collective called COBRA-Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists, which later became AFRI-COBRA, the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists. AFRI-COBRA took as its central tenets black pride, social responsibility and the development of a new diasporic African identity.

In 1971, Jarrell was recruited by fellow AFRI-COBRA founder, Jeff Donaldson to teach at Howard University where he pursued his Master of Fine Arts degree. He continued there until 1977, taking a position at the University of Georgia as Assistant Professor. In 1988, with the interest in his work increasing, Jarrell retired from teaching altogether. Jarrell's work has been shown at numerous places including: the Smithsonian International Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and at festivals and exhibitions in Nigeria, Germany, Sweden, France, Haiti and Martinique.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wadsworth Jarrell interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wadsworth Jarrell's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wadsworth Jarrell shares details about his mother's family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about his father's side of the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wadsworth Jarrell lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wadsworth Jarrell recalls growing up on a farm in Oconee County, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wadsworth Jarrell discusses his parents' influence on his siblings and him
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about his school years in Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Wadsworth Jarrell reflects on the impact of his father's death on the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about his school years in Georgia and early mentors in art
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about his time in the Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wadsworth Jarrell shares details about going AWOL from the Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about moving to Chicago to attend art school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about his experience at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wadsworth Jarrell identifies some instructors and artists who inspired him while at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wadsworth Jarrell explains how he supported himself while in school and discusses how he started a mail-order business with his wife
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wadsworth Jarrell discusses his involvement with the Wall of Respect and AFRICOBRA
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wadsworth Jarrell continues his discussion about the Wall of Respect
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wasdworth Jarrell reflects on the significance of AFRICOBRA
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about AFRI-COBRA membership
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wadsworth Jarrell discusses the work and artistic contribution of AFRI-COBRA
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wadsworth Jarrell discusses his family's brief move to New England in 1971
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wadsworth Jarrell discusses teaching at Howard University and the Univeristy of Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about the evolution of his painting
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wadsworth Jarrell describes his experiences teaching at Howard University and tells why he left
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wadsworth Jarrell reflects on his experience at The University of Georgia, Athens
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about his toy business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about selling his art in Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wadsworth Jarrell discusses his move to New York in 1994
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about his wife and children
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wadsworth Jarrell offers his perspective on the importance of art
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about current and future ventures
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wadsworth Jarrell defines the terms black art and the black artist
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wadsworth Jarrell talks about his parents, his legacy, and his wife--the person he most admires