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When the Spirit Speaks: Self-Taught Art of the South

Margaret Day Allen

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This book introduces the reader to 32 self-taught artists in the Southeastern United States. Some have already come to the attention of collectors and scholars. Many others have been unrecognized outside of their immediate neighborhoods. What they all have in common is an unquenchable desire to make art. Often defying the expectations of family and friends, they have pursued this inspiration. In many cases, these artists began to create in response to a personal crisis. Others harbored an interest in art for many years but only had the time to create following retirement. Most were initially unaware of the academic art world, either because they were unable to afford an art education or because their families considered such an aspiration impractical. These stories of perseverance, struggle and triumph illustrate the strength of the creative impulse, which is a part of us all.

Size: 8 1/2″ x 11″ | 200 photos | 144 pp
ISBN13: 9780764347313 | Binding: hard cover

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Margaret Day Allen is an avid collector of self-taught art. She is a former award-winning journalist and photographer. She currently works as a marketing communications professional. Her work has been published in the Folk Art Messenger. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Mississippi State University and a master’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Robert. They are the proud parents of two children, Frances and Christopher. The Allens are past co-presidents of the North Carolina Folk Art Society and members of the Folk Art Society of America.

“There is a wide range of Southern self-taught artists in this delightful, large-format, hard-cover book…In all, the book gathers 32 self-taught artists, describing their lives and art.” –Nuala Ernest, Raw Vision

“This long-awaited book by award-winning journalist Margaret Day Allen reinforces what an excellent writer she is…By providing a real service in recognizing these deserving artists, Allen has expanded the scholarship in this ever-growing field.” –Ann Oppenhimer, Folk Art Messenger