Works in the Collection
William Ellisworth Artis was born in 1914 in Washington, NC. Young Artis moved to New York in 1927. He studied sculpture and pottery at Augusta Savage Studios in the early 1930s and was a part of the Harmon Foundation exhibition in 1933. He received the John Hope Prize, which led to a scholarship at the Art Students League in 1933-34. Artis was hired by Audrey McMahon, the director of the College Art Association, along with several other artists to teach crafts and paint murals in churches and community centers. In 1950 he received his Bachelors in Fine Arts, and in 1951 his Masters in Fine Arts from Syracuse University, where he studied with the sculptor Ivan Mestrovic.
Artis was Professor of Ceramics at Nebraska Teachers College from 1956 to 1966, and later taught as Professor of Art at Mankato State College until 1975. His work was featured at Fisk University in 1971 and in Against the Odds, an exhibition of African American Artists from the Harmon Foundation. His works can be found at Atlanta University, the Whitney Museum, Fisk University’s Two Centuries of Black American Art, Hampton University, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and private collectors. The artist died in 1977.