Historical Marker Dedication: Folk Artist Nellie Mae Rowe (1900-1982)


May 15, 2024    
11:00 am

The Georgia Historical Society will hold a dedication for a new historical marker: Folk Artist Nellie Mae Rowe (1900-1982). The dedication will take place on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at 11:00 a.m., at the Fayette County Administrative Complex, 140 Stonewall Ave W, Fayetteville, Georgia. The event is open to the public. Ample parking is available at the complex.

The marker reads:

Folk Artist Nellie Mae Rowe (1900-1982)

Born in Fayette County, Nellie Mae Rowe learned craftsmanship skills such as basketweaving and sewing from her parents. She quit school to work on her family’s farm, later working as a domestic laborer. After retiring, she devoted herself to artmaking, relating it to childlike play. Using themes from African-American traditions and her Christian faith, Rowe explored gender, politics, and race. She used assemblage and repurposing techniques like many contemporary African-American artists, creating colorful illustrations, hand-crafted dolls, and sculptures. Rowe transformed her Vinings home into her “Playhouse.” Though many people toured the Playhouse, she experienced harassment and vandalization. Rowe’s first exhibition was in Atlanta as the US Bicentennial revived interest in folk art. Her work has appeared in exhibitions and collections nationwide. Rowe died in 1982 and is buried in Fayetteville’s Flat Rock
AME Church Cemetery.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, The Fayette County Historical Society,
and the Fayette Heritage Project