Works in the Collection
James McMillan was born in 1925 in Sanford, North Carolina. He attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he studied under notable African American artists Lois Mailou Jones, James Lesesne Wells, James A. Porter, and James V. Herring. In 1947, McMillan was the first African American awarded a fellowship at the acclaimed Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. The following fall, McMillan began his first tenure at Bennett College in Greensboro North Carolina as Chair of the Art Department. Then, choosing to continue his studies, McMillan earned an M.F.A. degree in Sculpture at Catholic University and returned to Bennett College.
In 1969, McMillan became the first African American Chair of the Art Department at Guilford College in Greensboro, where he continued teaching until he retired in 1988. McMillan was a co-founder and president of the African American Atelier, which opened in 1991 as a gallery dedicated to the advancement of African American Art. The work of James McMillan can be found in numerous collections including Bennett College, North Carolina Central University, Guilford College, The Weatherspoon Art Museum and Virginia State University.