Five Black Facts: William Ellisworth Artis

Five Black Facts highlights amazing accomplishment of Black Americans during Black History Month.

– 1 –

William Ellisworth Artis was born February 2, 1914 in Washington, North Carolina.

He was raised by his father Thomas Miggett in North Carolina.

He moved to New York with his mother Elizabeth Davis in the late 1920s to complete high school.

Shortly after he took his stepfather’s last name.

– 2 –

William studied sculpture and pottery with Harlem’s premiere Renaissance artist, Augusta Christina Savage-Walls.

Her Studio of Arts and Crafts trained artists Jacob Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight and others.

– 3 –
His work rivaled the top most exhibited, most honored 3D artists of his time.

Winner of two John Hope Prizes, his impressive portfolio & training landed him in positions of influence.

Before serving as a technician in World War II, he led the Boys Work & Art Department at the 135th St Harlem YMCA.

– 4 –
Harmon Foundation recognized his work with a Fellowship subsidizing his residency at six HBCUs, where he taught workshops on ceramic techniques.

He was described as a hard-working, dedicated, and effective educator by his colleagues and students.

Towards the end of his career, he was named Outstanding Educator of America by the University of Minnesota in 1970.

– 5 –
In this photo, it is 1963.

Artis is working on the prizewinning sculpture “Young Mother’s Love.”

His style is praised for his use of clean design with serene, elegant expressions.

His prestigious career includes numerous awards, permanent collections, and influential professional affiliations.

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