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Brenda Singletary

Artist Brenda Singletary was born on May 23, 1954 in Detroit, Michigan. She received her B.A. degree in art education from Morris Brown College. Prior to becoming a fulltime visual artist, she worked several years in television broadcasting until 1985.

Singletary’s original pieces are done in oil, enamel, acrylic, gold leaf, and pastels; they range from figurative and abstract to floral and landscapes. Singletary’s experience in broadcasting, along with her artistic dedication, created a unique artistic career that is centered on projects to help support community non-profits. She has raised funds for organizations such as The March of Dimes, 100 Black Women and 100 Black Men, United Negro College Fund, the Atlanta Day Shelter, the Senior Connection, and the National Black MBA Association.

Singletary served two years as a panel judge for the President’s Commission on White House Fellows. Her artwork is a part of the White House permanent art collection and hangs in the conference room of the White House Fellows Administration Office and the Georgia State Capital.

In 2001, Singletary was invited by the White House as the guest lecturer for a luncheon hosted by the President’s Commission on White House Fellows to speak on current events and express her views as an African American artist.

Collectors of Singletary’s work include Andrew Young, Hank Aaron, Terry McMillan, Thurbert Baker and Marion Wright Edelman. She has been presented with the American Express Cultural Arts Award, the Golden Sable Award from the United Negro College Fund, and the Daimler-Chrysler Motion through Expression Art Competition Award.

As an advocate of community arts, Singletary has worked with Atlanta-area high schools and facilitated seminars for students who wish to express themselves creatively.

Singletary lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Singletary was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 16, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.011

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/16/2007 |and| 1/17/2007

1/16/2007

1/17/2007

Last Name

Singletary

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Hillger Elementary School

Barbour Magnet Middle School

Oakland University

Morris Brown College

Kettering High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Brenda

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

SIN01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/23/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Mixed media artist Brenda Singletary (1954 - ) was an artist whose original pieces are done in oil, enamel, acrylic, gold leaf, and pastels; they range from figurative and abstract to floral and landscapes. Singletary's artistic career was centered on projects to help support community non-profits.

Employment

WSB-TV Atlanta

11Alive Atlanta

WTVC Chattanooga

WGCL Atlanta

Independent Artist

Favorite Color

Blue, Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Brenda Singletary's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary describes her family background in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary describes her maternal great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary describes her mother's life

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary describes her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Brenda Singletary describes childhood Christmas celebrations

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Brenda Singletary recalls her schools in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Brenda Singletary describes her art classes in elementary school

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Brenda Singletary recalls attending Detroit's Saunders Memorial A.M.E. Church

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Brenda Singletary lists her schools in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary describes attending Barbour Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary remembers the music she enjoyed as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary recalls her homeroom teacher at Barbour Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary describes her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary remembers Detroit's Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary remembers Charles F. Kettering Senior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary remembers the pressure from her parents to study teaching

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary recalls winning an art contest in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary describes her high school music teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary recalls her admission to Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Brenda Singletary remembers attending Oakland University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary recalls her decision to attend Morris Brown College

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary remembers her arrival at Morris Brown College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary describes her art classes at Morris Brown College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary describes her early artwork

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary recalls her aspiration to become a professional artist

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary recalls leaving Morris Brown College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary recalls working for WWSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary remembers her internship at WXIA-TV

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary recalls African American television news reporters

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary describes working in community affairs at WXIA-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary talks about WXIA-TV reporter John Pruitt

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary recalls leaving her position at WSB-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary describes working at WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary remembers interviewing Reverend Jesse L. Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary recalls a Ku Klux Klan rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary remembers working as a private investigator

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary describes her work as an organ tuner

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary remembers working at WGCL-TV in Atlanta, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary remembers working at WGCL-TV in Atlanta, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary remembers selling her art to the Tritt Gallery

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary remembers how she learned about the art market

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary talks about selling on consignment

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary remembers selling her artwork on a national circuit

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary recalls partnering with nonprofit organizations as an artist

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary describes her artistic styles

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary describes the arts community in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary describes the arts community in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary recalls gender discrimination she experienced as an artist

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary describes the collectors of her art

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary talks about selling her art in California

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Brenda Singletary describes what she does with her unwanted paintings

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary describes her art burning fundraisers, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary describes her art burning fundraisers, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary describes her work with the White House Fellows program

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary talks about the White House Fellows program

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary recalls speaking to the White House Fellows

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary lists the nonprofit organizations she supported

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary recalls creating an art library for the White House Fellows

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary shares her advice for aspiring artists

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary describes her favorite artists

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Brenda Singletary describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary shares her advice for aspiring art collectors

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary describes the value of art reproductions

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Brenda Singletary recalls winning an art contest in high school
Brenda Singletary recalls partnering with nonprofit organizations as an artist
Transcript
Well, did he [Singletary's high school art teacher, Mr. Yost (ph.)] see your talent?$$Yes, he did. He was the one that got me into that art competition. There was this art competition every year in Detroit [Michigan]. It's featured by one of our major department stores, called Hudson's [J.L. Hudson Company, Detroit, Michigan] and the New York, no New York, the Detroit Free Press, and I entered a fashion illustration and it won one the prizes, one of many. It wasn't the first prize, but it was one of the prizes that was given out. And I remembered my picture later being in the paper with my parents [Mattie Hicks Singletary and James Singletary] and everybody at school was excited about it. I said hey, I like this, publicity too, and I win a prize, and, you know, I said I like this art thing, you know, I really like this. And I didn't have to get up in front of people and say anything or didn't have to raise my hand, they just took my picture and they did everything for me, so I liked that, I liked that a lot. So when I, I did think about a future in college, I was thinking more along the lines of an artist, but I was still struggling trying to find some kind of mentor, someone who was doing this, that I could say, okay, I can do this. Or tell my parents, see, he's an artist or she's an artist, you know. But I just didn't know where to look.$$So, by the teacher helping you to get into this competition, what happened? Did you being to do more artwork to get into other competitions? What happened after that initial contest (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, I was truly inspired, I was truly inspired that other people thought it was important enough to put in the paper. So I say, it's got to be important, what I do has got to be important to somebody, you know. I just hadn't found the audience yet. But, he wasn't really in a position, you know. He was an art teacher, he didn't know anything other than art education. So, he did as much as he could for me. He just encouraged me to go on and study art in college, but he didn't say you could become a professional artist if you study hard or, you know.$$Okay. Was there anyone like that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) No, no.$$No one. Like you said, you just could not really find a mentor or anybody that could lead you in the right direction.$$No, no.$And I realized then when I left Channel 46 [WGCL-TV, Atlanta, Georgia] that anything that I do with exhibiting artwork, an art show, a nonprofit organization has to be involved because I learned by being in television that if you're nonprofit, you get television coverage. If you're nonprofit, then that organization supports you in what you do. They will bring their people out to support you. You have an automatic audience and all I have to do is donate part of the proceeds to that nonprofit organization which is a win, win, win situation for everybody. Number one, I really feel so important that the work that I do gives back to the community. That's really important to me. I learned that by working in television. I learned that primarily in public affairs because that's what public affairs did. It worked with nonprofit organizations. And I love that. Then the nonprofit organization had that built-in audience, all those people there supporting that organization. So they would come there with a mission, to buy my work to support the organization, so that's a win for me. So, it just really worked well, and for coverage I could get newspaper coverage, I could get television coverage, just because I'm helping this nonprofit organization, just because I'm helping them. I said, that is so wonderful. And so I changed my title. Instead of just being an artist, I'm a community service artist. So I really liked that so every exhibit that I do, it is to benefit some nonprofit. Now, I don't bring the newspapers or try to get coverage for everything that I do, because a lot of the fundraisers are in people's homes, because nonprofits, their whole goal is to raise money (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Money.$$--without spending a lot of money. So because I was so prolific, I put together this huge show at the Woodruff Arts Center [Atlanta, Georgia], large paintings, and the community affairs director at the Woodruff Arts Center, David Manuel, he helped me get that show. He was the, he worked in the facilities department at that time. They had nothing to do with art, but they let me do the show. So I brought in Remy Martin, they sponsored it and all these other sponsors came in and it was a huge show. It was fabulous. It was one of the largest events for the National Black Arts Festival that year. Martin Luther King III was there. I had never met him before, just a number of people came. It was just very exciting for me. This was my first really big art show, huge art show, so I really enjoyed that very much. And then I had a direction with my art.