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On this date in 1895, Beulah Woodard was born. She was a Black artist who specialized in sculpture.
Born near Frankfort, OH, Beulah Ecton Woodard was the youngest daughter in the William P. Ecton family. In 1907, nothing affected her more deeply than a native African she met when she was 12 years old. This began her lifelong interest in the culture of Africa.
Ecton migrated to California and settled near Los Angeles in what is now the city of Vernon. While at Polytechnic High School, she began to show interest in sculpture and developed her art further with courses at the Los Angeles Art School, the Otis Art Institute, and the University of Southern California. Felix Piano, David Edstrom, Glen Lukens, and Prince Troubesky tutored her.
After her marriage to Brady Woodard, she began to work in a studio in the rear of their home. Her earliest published work was a column in the California News along with displays in the office window of the publication. Soon after this, she was invited to display her work at the Vernon Branch Library and the Los Angeles Central Library downtown. This led to a one-person show in 1935 in Los Angeles. Her popularity as a lecturer grew throughout southern California, from institutions ranging from elementary to university graduate schools. Woodard won a number of awards, including in the third All-City Art Festival in 1953.
Despite her full schedule, Woodard always found time to support community causes and promote another artist. She was an important organizer of both the Los Angeles Negro Art Association in 1937 and the Eleven Associated Artist Gallery in 1950.
Before what was perhaps her most notable exhibition, in a number of German museums, Beulah Woodard died at the age of 59, on July 13, 1955.
The Book of African American Women
150 Crusaders, Creators, and Uplifters
by Tonya Bolden