Historical Marker Dedication: Nellie Mae Rowe and her Playhouse


June 1, 2024    
2:00 pm

Color photo: By Lucinda Bunnen, 1971 © Lucinda Bunnen B&W photo: By Judith Alexander Augustine, 1971 © Judith Alexander Augustine

The Georgia Historical Society will hold a dedication for a new historical marker: Nellie Mae Rowe and her Playhouse. The dedication will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2024, at 2:00 p.m., in front of Hotel Indigo (2857 Paces Ferry Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30339). The event is open to the public.

Location details: The dedication will take place in the right-of-way in front of Hotel Indigo. There will be parking available at the hotel.

The marker reads:

Nellie Mae Rowe and her Playhouse

Nellie Mae Rowe (1900-1982), a self-taught African-American artist, lived near this site for 45 years. Rowe began creating art as a child. After retiring in the 1960s, she devoted herself to artmaking, associating it with childlike play. Using assemblage and repurposing techniques, she explored politics, race, her faith, and her experience as a woman. Rowe adorned her yard and home—her “Playhouse”—with colorful drawings, installations, and sculptures. During the 1970s, many locals and visitors toured Rowe’s Playhouse. Rowe experienced harassment and vandalization due to racial prejudice and lack of understanding of her art. Toward the end of her life Rowe’s work received national attention. Shortly after her death her Playhouse was demolished. Rowe’s art has since been exhibited worldwide and included in collections such as Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, Vinings Village Homeowners Association, and The Judith Alexander Foundation