dark oil painting of a white cat in a flower garden

Betty Grisham, Portrait of Snowy, 1956, oil on canvas, 42.25 x 54 in. Gift of Betty Grisham.

The Huntsville Museum of Art is pleased to present a memorial exhibition of the beloved Huntsville artist arts advocate, Betty Grisham. Betty Grisham: A Celebration showcases 24 of Grisham’s paintings, textiles, prints, and collages from the Museum’s collection.

Betty Grisham, Converging Patterns, circa 1975, silk gros point, 19 x 17.25 in. Gift of Betty Grisham.

Betty Grisham passed away last year at the venerable age of 99. A North Alabama native, she earned her BA in Fine Art and Education at Montevallo College in 1942, and her MA in Fine Art Education from Columbia University Teachers College in 1945. After teaching and exhibiting in Atlanta and Birmingham, she settled in Huntsville in 1963.

Grisham experimented with textiles and the applied arts including needlepoint, rug making, and fabric design. Her unique garments for the commercial market were sold in New York and elsewhere, and she founded a business designing custom hand-painted and printed fabrics for interior design. She also became an important advocate of the Huntsville Art League, as well as a key supporter and patron of the Huntsville Museum of Art. She retired in the mid-1990s and continued to work from her home studio on paintings, wall hangings, and needlepoints for many years.

Grisham’s art was often inspired by the colors and shapes of nature, interpreted through her lively imagination and confident use of abstraction. She easily moved between bold drama and poetic restraint in her works. Her artworks are uniquely personal, combining traditional handwork like embroidery and fabric dying with abstracted, bold patterning.

Reflecting upon what inspired her creativity, the artist once said, “Winter’s fiery sunsets, I see and enjoy them every day. Then I do drawings that become other works. Things that are growing — nature, I come back to it more and more. Changes of the seasons and the subtlety of nature inspire my work. I have studied art history and see great value in all periods. Georgia O’Keeffe was an influence. Inspiration comes from many sources.”

Betty Grisham: A Celebration opens at the Huntsville Museum of Art on July 3, 2o22, and closes on November 13, 2022. The exhibition will be on display in the Chan gallery of the Museum and will be included with the general price of admission. Admission can be purchased at the front desk in the lobby of the Museum or online here.