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BIOGRAPHY 

Melvin R. Smith (b. 1941) was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He currently lives and works in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife and fellow artist Rose J. Smith. Melvin Smith served in the United States Marine Corps. In 1975, he received his Bachelor of Art in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. Nearly a decade later, Melvin began cultivating his own artistic voice producing figurative collages and sculptures to follow. In 2000, the husband-and-wife team founded the Oklahoma Museum of African American Art in Oklahoma City. In 2019, the Smiths’ work was presented in exhibition Rose and Melvin Smith: Remembering Rondo at the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Melvin Smith’s work has also been exhibited at United Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN; Gaylord-Pickens Museum, Oklahoma City, OK; Eleanor Kirkpatrick gallery, Oklahoma City, OK; Oklahoma Museum of African American Art, Oklahoma City, OK; State Capitol, Oklahoma City, OK; Omniplex, Oklahoma City, OK; and Peg Alston Fine Arts Gallery, New York, NY. His work is included in the permanent collections of Chicago State University, Chicago, IL; Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; Eagan Art House, Eagan, MN; Minnesota State Art Collection, St. Paul, MN; Oklahoma State Art Collection, Oklahoma City, OK; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK; St. Paul Insurance Companies of St. Paul, St. Paul, MN and Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. In 2019, Smith was awarded the McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship and the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. In 2000, PBS made the documentary The Long Way Home, chronicling Smith’s life as and artist.  

EDUCATION 

1975
B.A in Journalism., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN 

SOLO & TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS 

2019
Rose and Melvin Smith: Remembering Rondo, Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis,  MN. 

2011
New Orleans After the Storm, United Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN.  

2006
Messengers of Jazz, United Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN. 

2001
The Long Way Home, Omniplex, Oklahoma City, OK. 

2000
State Capitol, East gallery, Oklahoma City, OK. 

1997
In Search of Validation: Harlem Revisited, United Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN. 

1996
Peg Alston Fine Arts Gallery, New York, NY. 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS 

2020
Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color, Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Gaylord-Pickens Museum, Oklahoma City, OK. 

2000
Sacred Spaces: Human Faces, Oklahoma Museum of African American Art, Oklahoma City, OK. 

1995
Multiculturalism in Oklahoma, Eleanor Kirkpatrick gallery, City Arts Center, Oklahoma City, OK. 

PUBLIC ARTWORKS  

2021
“Walking Warrior/Spirit of Rondo”, Gift of the artist, Western Sculpture Park, St. Paul, MN. 

2013
Sculpture commission, Patrick Eagan Park, Eagan Art House Grounds, Eagan, MN. 

GRANTS, AWARDS AND HONORS 

2019
McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship Recipient 

Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant 

1995
Dabney Award 

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS 

Chicago State University, Chicago, IL 

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 

Eagan Art House, Eagan, MN 

Minnesota State Art Collection, St. Paul, MN 

Oklahoma State Art Collection, Oklahoma City, OK 

Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK 

St. Paul Insurance Companies of St. Paul, St. Paul, MN 

Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 

BIBLIOGRAPHY  

2022
White, Russ. “2019 McKnight Artist Fellowship Profile: Melvin R. Smith”, MPLSART.com, May 10. 

2021
Brown, Curt. “Born into slavery, he became an interpreter and St. Paul founding father”, Star Tribune, July 17.  
Most, Becca. “‘Spirit of Rondo’ sculpture commemorates peaceful integration and African-American excellence”, St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 19.  

2020
McDonnell, Brandy. “Getting in the ‘Spirit’: Inclusion in Art and Oklahoma Hall of Fame partner to showcase artists of color”, The Oklahoman, March 15.  
Hencz, Adam. “Remembering Rondo, The Twin Cities’ Razed African-American Neighborhood”, Artland. 

2019
Johnson, Cindi. “Celebrating Storytellers Melvin and Rose Smith”, The Canvas, September 3. 
Broaddus, Adrienne. “Rose and Melvin Smith: Remembering Rondo”, KARE 11, July 19. 
Diamond, Peter. “Remembering Rondo: Rose and Melvin Smith Reflect On a 50      Year Artistic Romance”, Mpls St Paul Magazine, June 28.  
Berdan, Kathy. “The art of community: Melvin and Rose Smith celebrate Rondo in Weisman exhibit”, June 7.   
Beecham, Maya. “Remembering Rondo” Insight News, May 29. 
Mullin, Diane. “Why America Should Remember Rondo”, Weisman Art Museum, May 23. 

2013
Miller, Andrew. “Sculptures slated for installation at Eagan Art House”, SUN This Week, July 3.  
Ferraro, Nick. “Eagan Art House grounds’ sculptures chosen” , Twin Cities Pioneer Press, June 25.  
Rowe, Seth. “Sculptures to represent Eagan’s metamorphosis”, Star Tribune, July 6.  

2009
Visual Theology: forming and transforming the community through the arts, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009. 

2001
Brandenburg, John. “Couple share artistic vision”, The Oklahoman, February 20. 

2000
Reagor, John W. Jr., “Experience Artistic couple share visions”, The Oklahoman, July 16. 

1995
Brandenburg, John. “Multicultural Show Offers Intriguing Array of Styles”, The Oklahoman, August 4. 

FILM 

2000
The Long Way Home, PBS documentary  

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