Art Sunday #211: Georgia Mills Jessup – Rainy Night Downtown


Georgia Mills Jessup (March 19, 1926 – December 24, 2016) was an African-American painter, sculptor, ceramicist, muralist, and collage artist.

Jessup, a native of Washington, D.C., was of African-American, Native American, and European descent. Her father, Joseph Mills, was a member of the Pamunkey tribe her mother was Margaret Hall Mills. The thirteenth of eighteen children, she was one of twenty-nine members of her family who followed an artistic profession. After an early display of artistic talent she was apprenticed to Herman L. Walker; two of her paintings were shown at the 1939 World’s Fair. Jessup was a 1943 graduate of Dunbar High School.  She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Howard University, where she studied with Loïs Mailou Jones, in 1959, following that with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Catholic University of America in 1969. Jessup spent thirteen years teaching in the public schools of Washington, D.C., eventually becoming supervisor of art education for the system. She founded “The World is Your Museum”, forerunner of the Capital Children’s Museum, and was the first artist-in-residence at the Anacostia Community Museum. She died at home in Columbia, Maryland, and was survived by two sons and two daughters.

Jessup’s 1967 painting Rainy Night, Downtown is in the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Other works are in private collections.


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