May 20, 1922: Artist Della Brown Taylor Hardman Born in Charleston


Artist Della Brown Taylor Hardman was born in Charleston on May 20, 1922. After graduating from Charleston’s segregated Garnet High School, she attended West Virginia State College (now University) at Institute and Boston University. For 30 years, she was an art professor at West Virginia State.

Hardman traveled and studied widely, including at colleges in West Africa and Canada. She finished her Ph.D. at Kent State University at age 72. Her dissertation was about William Edward Scott, the second black artist to graduate from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Hardman’s artwork, featuring fabric and ceramics, has been exhibited in galleries ranging from the Huntington Galleries (now the Huntington Museum of Art) to a showing in West Africa. She’s considered one of the most influential female and African-American artists from West Virginia. She later moved to Massachusetts and was awarded the first Humanitarian Award from the Martha’s Vineyard NAACP for her community service.

Della Brown Taylor Hardman died at Martha’s Vineyard in 2005 at age 83. The fine art gallery on the campus of West Virginia State University is named in her honor.