Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ursel White Lewis: Patron of the Arts

Art patronage is considered a to be gesture directly connected to financial privilege. But Ursel White Lewis managed to aid, support, view and appreciate the art of the Columbus African American community.

Born in Oklahoma City in October, 1913, Lady 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.

Lady Ursel White Lewis, fashion stylist and art patron, still lives in Columbus and is the subject of a new book, Lady Lewis: Her Hats and Her Gloves by PamelaJune Anderson.

Arnett Howard

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