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*On this date in 1886, Alice Taylor Gafford was born. She was a Black nurse and acclaimed artist.
From Los Angeles, she was one of ten children of Benjamin and Alice Armstead Taylor, and the only one who showed an interest in art. She spent twenty-five years in the nursing profession before deciding to pursue her first love, painting. She married Louis Sherman Gafford in 1928. Gafford attended and graduated from the Otis Art Institute, receiving attention from critics when she won second prize for one of her paintings at the Stendahl Gallery on Wilshire Blvd.
She earned a teaching certificate at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1951 and taught art in LA county schools for five years. She was one of five hundred artists who submitted their work for the Sixth Annual Southern California Exhibition in 1968. Gafford then was among the seventy-nine left to participate with New York critic Clement Greenberg. On her eighty-first birthday, Gafford was commissioned to paint the portraits of twelve famous Black Americans for the gallery of the Family Saving Bank.
She played an influential role in the founding and development of a number of pioneering art groups in southern California, including the Val Verde Art and Hobby Show that now bears her name (the Alice Gafford Art and Hobby Show). She received over twenty-five awards from various private, city, county and state organizations, and her painting The Tea Party is in the collection at the Long Beach Museum.
Alice Gafford died on October 27, 1981 and is buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery next to her husband.
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York