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Helen Lafrance, Kentucky Artist and Tastemaker Turns 100

We celebrate the 100th Birthday of Helen LaFrance (born November 4, 1919) who is an American artist born in Graves County, Kentucky. Both an artist and tastemaker of the South, Helen is often described as both an outsider artist due to her lack of formal training and existence outside the cultural mainstream and as a folk artist best known for her memory painting of the disappearing lifestyle of the rural South.

Helen Lafrance, Kentucky Artist and Tastemaker Turns 100

Shelton gallery [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]
Helen LaFrance is a self-taught Southern African-American artist whose specialty is visually recording a way of life that is fast disappearing and, in many cases, no longer recognizable. Born in western Kentucky in 1919, LaFrance is the rare artist who is able to work deftly in more than one medium. She is an exceptional painter, quilter, wood carver, and Biblical interpreter. However her real skill is her ability to connect with the viewer emotionally through the memories they share. These paintings fall into a category of American folk art known as Memory Painting. This catalog is from her exhibition, Folk Art Memories at the Tennessee State Museum, July 1 – August 12, 2012

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Michiel Perry

Michiel is a Black Southern Belle living a lowcountry life. I love all things fashion, home decor and southern! When I am not running around doing fun stuff for Black Southern Belle, I live in antique stores and have a minor obsession with historic homes 🙂

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