Memphis Wood, Jacksonville, Changing Classes, oil on panel, 24 by 18 inches, sighed upper left.
In the 1920’s Memphis Wood was teaching art in North Carolina as a traveling art instructor for the public school system. In 1929 she moved to Jacksonville from Hickory, North Carolina, to begin teaching art at Julia Landon High School. Wood became a well-known artist and art teacher in the public schools of Jacksonville, teaching art at Landon High for thirty years, and at Jacksonville University, where, for five years, she was chairman of the art department. She was skilled in the arts of drawing, painting, pottery and ceramics. In 1955 Wood was honored with inclusion in the Ringling Museum Exhibit, Fifty Florida Painters. She received the Arts Assembly of Jacksonville’s 1980 Award, and the Florida Art Education Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the arts. In 1982 the City of Jacksonville held a Memphis Wood Day. The Jacksonville Monthly called her the “grand dame of art in Jacksonville.” Born: 1902, Dacula, Georgia. Died: June 29, 1989, Atlanta, Georgia. Education: Normal School for Women, Athens, Georgia; University of Georgia, BS in education, 1933, MFA, 1947; University of Florida, with Roy Craven, John Kacere; with Howard Thomas; Lamar Dodd; Atlanta Art Institute, with Ben Shute; Jacksonville Art Museum with William Parker; Howard Thomas; Sculpture with Ralph Hurst, Fred Holchum; University of Florida extension art course, 1955. Membership: Arts Exhibition Club of Jacksonville, name later changed to Jacksonville Arts Club; Florida Federation of Art; Jacksonville Art Museum; Florida Artist Group; Florida Art Teachers Association. Exhibits: Arts Exhibition Club of Jacksonville, Packard building, Riverside Drive, October 1946, best oil in show, Party Dress, oils, Samantha, Under the Shadow of the Almighty, watercolors, Jessie’s Transfer, Coal Car, Decks; Arts Exhibition Club, 1946, 1st prize, oil, Party Dress, 1st and 3rd prizes, landscapes; Jacksonville Arts Club Annual, May 1947, landscape watercolor, 1st prize, It Doesn’t Look Real, 2nd prize, Old Trees, 2nd prize, oil still life; Jacksonville Arts Club, Fall Exhibition, November 1947, at American School of Art, East Adams Street, oils, The Young Chemists, The Nativity; Jacksonville Arts Club, Spring Exhibition, May-June 1948, at Children’s Museum, Riverside Avenue, honorable mention, Autumn Leaves; Southeastern Annual at High Museum of Art, as a Georgia artist, October 1949; Florida Federation of Art, annual meeting, Gainesville, November 29 to December 1, Chamber of Commerce award, Wharves; Florida Federation of Art, Annual Circuit, February 1951 at Art Club of St. Petersburg, Wharves; Gainesville Association of Fine Arts, April 1952; Audubon Artists Group, New York City, 1952; Southeastern Annual, Atlanta 1952-53; Terry Art Institute, national art scholarship contest for 1952 high school students, awarded to her student, Marjorie S. Jones of Jacksonville, out of 79,418 entrants, with $500 to Memphis Wood; Florida Federation of Art Annual, November 1954, Jacksonville, Palm Beach Art League Award; Ringling Museum of Art, 1955, Fifty Florida Painters, oil, Girl Carrying Christmas Packages; Florida Federation of Art, Stetson University, DeLand, January 1955; Jacksonville Art Museum, joint exhibit with Charles Brown, February 1955; St. Augustine Art Association, March 1956, judge; Florida Federation of Art Annual, Jacksonville Art Museum, 1956, award, Woman with Bird; Florida Artists Group at Norton Gallery of Art, May 1958; Florida Artist Group, 9th Annual Circuited Exhibition, 1958-1959, an oil, Spring Green; Florida State Fair, Tampa, exhibited between, 1956-1962; Florida Craftsmen Exhibition, 1963, award; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1964, 2nd award; Webb Gallery, Winter Park, January 1966, Voices of the Night, Composition in Beige, Green Old Lions, Big Blue, The Earth, Lunar Focus, Woman, Big Red, The Past is Present, Earth Sea and Sky; Contemporary Art Gallery, St. Petersburg, May 1970, one man exhibit of “complex, cohesive wall hangings”; Jacksonville Art Museum; University of Florida; University of South Florida; Tampa University; Jacksonville Art Festival for seven years; New York World’s Fair.