The Gadsden Museum of Art has a new exhibit opening Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, featuring the well-known local artist Ethel Barker.
"The works we have on display are left from her estate and are available for purchase," said GMA gallery coordinator Autumn Baugh. "We encourage all visitors and supporters to help find these beautiful works a good home."
Ethel C. Thompson was born in Gadsden on Nov. 21, 1921.
She went to high school at Hokes Bluff until she married L.V. Barker in 1939, and they eventually landed in Saks, Alabama, after the war.
Barker was self taught as an artist, doing sketches and painting; however, in 1964 she did take a correspondence art course and passed. She also trained with several artists over the years. She sold quite a few paintings at various art shows and exhibits.
She started her own art studio in her backyard, which became too small after word got around about her classes. Her husband built her a large studio, named Tanglewoods Art Studio, on their property. She taught art for over 40yrs, also starting and presiding over the Saks Art Club for many years.
In the 70's & 80's, Barker traveled to Creed, Colorado, on vacation. She was inspired by the landscape there and returned many times. She met an artist there, trained with him, and he came to her studio on a few occasions to visit as well as teach her students.
Barker is known mostly for her oil paintings, but she did dabble in watercolor, pastels and acrylics, not to mention any kind of creativity that captured her imagination.
She was periodically visited by students from her past who recalled fond memories of her and her classes.
Barker passed away on April 5, 2019, at the age of 97.
"She was an amazing and inspiring woman," Baugh said.