Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RIP Jenelsie Holloway

Jenelsie Holloway didn't allow her children to play with coloring books. She didn't want her two daughters to learn how to color inside the lines, to put hue to someone else' s creation.
She bought them plenty of paper, crayons, coloring pencils and other art supplies. Open your mind, she'd say. Draw your own figures and scenes.
Express yourself.
"She wasn't interested in us having a preconceived notion of what things should look like -- right or wrong," said her daughter, Charnelle Holloway of Atlanta. "She thought a lot about the things we would play with and the exposure she would give us."
It was the same approach Mrs. Holloway took to the performing arts. She exposed her girls to various styles of dance and theatre.
"She was an artist," her daughter said, " and that's how she decided to raise us."
In the late 1930s, Mrs. Holloway attended segregated Laboratory High, which was located at Spelman College. After the Spelman school closed, her class completed its studies at Washington High.
She eventually returned to Spelman, first as an undergraduate student and later as an arts professor. She taught at Spelman 38 years -- from 1952 until her retirement.
There, she influenced students like Lynn Marshall Linnemeier of Atlanta, a mixed-media artist. She remembers a final class project that required students to map out Africa, give an example of a regional style or artifact, then describe its characteristics.

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