Encounters: Dean Mitchell

Grisham Gallery

December 12, 2021 – March 20, 2022

Dean Mitchell, Urban Density, 2020, acrylic on board, 22 x 30 in.

Artist Talk and Reception – SOLD OUT

Thursday, March 10, 2022 | 6 – 8 p.m.

Presented by the Museum’s Black History Month Committee

The engaging works of this master watercolorist from Tampa, FL encompass portraits, landscapes and still lifes in the time-honored realist tradition. In addition to watercolor, Mitchell is accomplished in other media including egg tempera, oil and pastel. His reputation hinges largely on his superb craftsmanship, the emotional depth of his work, his avoidance of facile sentimentality, and his skilled sense of formal design.

Mitchell engages with Black Identity by drawing his subjects mainly from African American culture. Of his preferred subject matter, he notes, “Artists are observers of life, and it is natural that I would first gravitate to the space which I occupy. The neighborhoods I was raised in were segregated. Most of my teachers were Black. Churches I attended were Black, so it is natural for me as an artist to create works that reflect my own personal experience.”

The artist was born in Pittsburgh, PA and reared in the small town of Quincy in the Florida Panhandle. Artistically proficient from a young age, he bought his first set of oils when he was twelve. At that point, he was already using art as an escape from the everyday, and by the time he was accepted into the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, he was already an accomplished artist. After graduating in 1980, Mitchell moved to Kansas City to start working as an illustrator at Hallmark Cards. He remained at Hallmark for the next three years, after which he decided to pursue painting as a full-time career.

Since then, Mitchell has received more than 500 awards, including First Prize from the T. H. Saunders International Artists in Watercolor Society’s Gold and Silver Medals; Allied Artists of America’s Gold Medal in Watercolor and Oil; and the Thomas Moran Award from the Salmagundi Club in New York. His works can be found in public collections across the country, including the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the St. Louis Museum of Art, and the Huntsville Museum of Art, among others. Organized by HMA.

Thank you, Sponsors!

Lead Sponsor:

Alabama House of Representatives Minority Leader Anthony Daniels


Sasha and Charlie Sealy
Ina and Garrett Smith
Alabama A&M University
Board of Directors – The Rosetta James Foundation
Bobby Bradley and Charley Burruss
Dr. and Mrs. Michael Johnson
Kimberly C. Brown Law Firm, LLC
Melanie and Rhett Murray
Kathryn and Lewis Price
Dianne and James Reynolds
Lady Tucker

Media Sponsor:

Additional Support:

Alabama State Council on the Arts
Huntsville Museum of Art Guild