Saundra Bolen Samuel, New Orleans Member Since March 2010 Artist Statement Saundra Bolen Samuel was born in the heart of the heartland in Cairo, Illinois. While growing up her family traveled all over the Midwest before finally moving to New Orleans when she was 15. This has been her home ever since.
From early childhood she knew she was an artist. The first time she sold her drawings was by going door to door in Des Moines, Iowa at age seven to earn money to buy comic books. Her mother was an Avon lady at that time so she got the door to door idea from her. Her mother never knew she was selling that way too! Having been told that artists starve to death, Saundra thought she should have something else as a career. Since she had an interest in science, that was her first career choice.
Married at age seventeen, she had one or two babies every year from age eighteen to twenty-three. During this period she was also attending the University of New Orleans as a science major. Her way of supporting her educational endeavors was as an Avon lady and other door to door type jobs so she could take her babies with her in their stroller.
Discovering the art colony on the Jackson Square in the New Orleans French Quarter was a liberating experience for her. Amazingly, people who lived in New Orleans then viewed the French Quarter as an inappropriate place for a young woman to go. So she was married and had four children before she had even seen it. Amazed and thrilled to find a market for her art so close to home, she has worked as a professional in the Jackson Square artists colony, since 1963.
When her marriage ended, working in the Jackson Square Art Colony enabled her to provide for her family of seven children and grow in ability at the same time.
She has had many one person art shows in shopping malls from New York to California. She has also shown in the Opryland Hotel in Nashville Tennessee and participated recently in the Katrina survivor Art Show in Pacific Grove, Carmel, California. Her work is in the collections of many celebrities, Harry Anderson, Nicholas Cage, Charles Bronson and Chris Owens, to name a few.
Over the years she has owned two art galleries and, though they were moderately successful, the business demands left her little time to paint or raise her family. So she always returned to the freedom of the Jackson Square Art Colony where she could take her children to work with her. Now her family is grown and her art gallery is on line at frenchquarterartists.com.
Sandra Bolen Samuel was recently chosen from numerous artist to participate two public art installations in New Orleans. One is the Street Car Art program where chosen artist painted miniature versions of the world famous New Orleans street cars. These are presently located all over New Orleans following the street car lines. The actual street cars are the oldest surviving street cars in America. You can see hers at: http://www.streetcarart.com/archives/2008/07/13/sandra-samuels-streetcar-full-of-jazz/
The next public art installation is being hosted by the New Orleans Down Town Development District. In the exhibit only 15 artist were chosen out of over 100 applicants. Sandra painted a large painting of multi colored Mardi Gras Indians dancing as they accompany a second line parade. Her painting adorns a transit shelter located at the corners of Canal St. and Basin St. in New Orleans. You can see it at : http://www.neworleansdowntown.com/site141.php