Burke Art Influence

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Through the centuries, art can differ and appear in several ways, but art will always have a positive effect on people. Art can be defined as a way to express what you feel or to create an emotional response from the person exposed to art. Art can make the person exposed to it remember great memories that warm the heart. Artists create art because it’s their talent and passion; however, they unconsciously shape lives and history with their artwork. Several artists, such as William Edmondson and Selma Burke create art because it is their calling and influence others to strive for something better with their artwork. In addition, every artist is different and unique; they all have a different story that makes them who they are. Burke and Edmonson…show more content…
Burke, one of ten children, was born to Neal Burke, “a local Methodist minister” and Mary Jackson Burke (Mack). Burke always had an interest for art, but was forced to choose a different career because her mother persuaded her to pursue a different vocation. Contrary to Edmondson, Burke had the opportunity to receive formal education at the Winston Salem University. In 1924, she then graduated from St. Agnes Training School for Nurses in North Carolina as a registered nurse. Once she finished school, Burke moved to New York City where she worked as a private nurse. Through her husband, Claude McKay, she began to go after her dream of becoming an artist. Burke was involved with the Harlem Renaissance, which influenced her to teach art appreciation and education in New York (Mack). In the 1930s, through grants, Burke was able to travel across Europe to study and improve her art skills in Maillol in Paris and in Vienna with Povoley (Selma). A decade after, she founded the Selma Burke School of Sculpture in New York City, and soon earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University (Mack). In 1942, Burke enrolled to the navy, which made her one of the first African-American women to enlist. Being part of the navy, she made a bronze portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Mack). Her portrait of President Roosevelt won in a nationwide competition, which President Harry S. Truman spoke at the unveiling. Burke also had the opportunity to found the Selma Burke Art Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Selma). She has been able to teach and support many artists from different time period through today. In 1987, Burke was honored to receive the Pearl S. Buck Foundation Woman’s Award for her accomplishments and dedication to family and humanity
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