Story of Ohio Giants

Elijah Pierce Vignette

Elijah Pierce

Elijah Pierce (1892–1984) was a highly acclaimed folk artist known for his masterful woodcarvings and storytelling abilities. Born in Mississippi, Pierce eventually settled in Columbus, Ohio, where he worked as a barber while pursuing his passion for carving. Using simple tools, Pierce transformed blocks of wood into intricate and expressive works of art, often depicting religious scenes, historical events, and characters from everyday life. His carvings served as a medium for storytelling, reflecting his deep religious faith, moral values, and observations of society. Pierce's artwork gained recognition for its exceptional craftsmanship and narrative richness, earning him widespread acclaim as one of America's foremost folk artists.

Aminah Robinson Vignette

Aminah Robinson

Aminah Robinson (1940–2015) was an influential American artist renowned for her vibrant and intricate artwork, spanning painting, drawing, and sculpture. Raised in Columbus, Ohio, Robinson drew inspiration from her heritage, infusing her work with rich cultural symbolism and spiritual depth. Her distinctive style combined bold colors, intricate patterns, and a diverse array of materials, including fabric and found objects. Through her art, Robinson depicted scenes from everyday life, folklore, and history, offering a profound exploration of the African diaspora experience. Throughout her illustrious career, she received numerous accolades, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2004, cementing her legacy as a pioneering figure in contemporary African American art.

Ursel Lewis Vignette

Ursel White Lewis

Ursel White Lewis (1913-2008) was the first African American Patron of the Arts in Columbus. Lewis came to Columbus with her ailing mother in 1941. She married Howard W. Lewis in 1943, who worked in the chemistry department at The Ohio State University. Mrs. Lewis was a fashionable woman who made hats and wore three quarter length glove all year round. In 1974 she got several pieces of art from a barber on Long Street, who was right around the corner from the Columbus Museum of Art and she donated them to the museum. The museum now has hundreds of pieces and two rooms dedicated to woodcarver Elijah Pierce. But it was Lady Lewis who donated the first pieces, as well as artwork from Roman Johnson, Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson and Henry Cade, Jr.

Visual Artists


King Arts Complex Logo
Scroll to Top