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A World of Art

Biographical Sketch: Beverly Buchanan

Beverly Buchanan
Beverly Buchanan was born in 1940 in Fuquay, North Carolina. She grew up on the campus of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, South Carolina, at that time the only state-supported school for blacks, where her father was dean of the School of Agriculture. When she was seven or eight years old, the daughter of the School's first black president asked if she could borrow some twenty drawings of Beverly's. Soon after she took Beverly to the YWCA building, and there was her work, hanging in an exhibition for university women. She first became interested in shacks as subject matter traveling in rural South Carolina with her father.

As she grew up, even as she was making art, she felt that, as an educated black woman, she needed to make "a contribution." She received a bachelor's degree in medical technology and a Masters of Public Health from Columbia University. Naturally, she thought that she would go on to medical school. Working as a health educator in the city of East Orange, New Jersey, in 1977, she realized one day that "I wanted to be an artist, not a doctor who paints. I had to do what I really wanted to do. It was hard and my mother continued to say 'Beverly's a health educator for the city of East Orange.' It wasn't until I got the Guggenheim in 1980 that she said, 'My daughter is an artist.'"

She lives today in Athens, Georgia, where she works in a variety of media including sculpture, drawing, painting, and photography.


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