As I mentally search back through the pages of history, I can't help being impressed by individuals who have accomplished so much in every field of endeavor, often against great odds. For me it produces pride in the past and inspiration for the future. Of particular interest to me is the artist Laura
Wheeling Waring. She was recognized as a superb painter by art connoisseurs and collectors at the turn of the century. And then there was Augusta Savage, Sculptress--One the first professional black sculptors. Many of her carvings, "The Abstract Madonna", are considered masterpieces today. I also have great admiration for the poet Phyllis Wheatley -- a fragile little slave girl who became one of the literary giants of her day; with her poetry she won widespread admiration, freedom and fame. The works of these black women who represent the many talents and abilities which are a part of our Black Heritage fills me with pride and joy. Their work is being carried on today by those whose contributions will make tomorrow's history.
I was born with a gift from God and I began developing this gift at a very young age. From the age of seven I have applied myself to my trade, working independently with considerable discipline. I am an artist. I continued throughout my life to study and master as many techniques and styles in art as possible. When I turned 17 my parents and my sister encouraged me to pursue this wonderful career.
Through the years my body of work has contributed to this culture in so many ways. As an artist at Hallmark Cards I designed and illustrated over 100 greeting cards. My work at Walt Disney World for more than 30 years included character illustration, merchandising, scenic art and artistic work for the Mickey Mouse Club television show. I illustrated an award winning children's Bible, and I am the creator of the "Angel on My Shoulder" pin that is distributed in over 250 grocery stores and hospitals in Georgia and Florida. In 1991, I became an artist for Give Kids the World, a non-profit organization that fulfills the wishes of terminally ill children. The murals I designed and illustrated throughout the village gives each child hope, courage
and strength to accept their illnesses. In January 2007, I was commissioned to transform the bare walls of I. M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless into a mini-magic kingdom. Through my work with Heart of America Foundation, I paint murals in the school libraries in economically depressed neighborhoods throughout the United States that have received a makeover grant from the foundation.
My mother, Inez Elizabeth Washington, helped, mentored and encouraged me as an artist. She taught me to be strong and to believe in my Godgiven talent. She encouraged me to follow my dream; and she nurtured me as I pursued my dream to be an artist. She believed in me throughout my career. For every "no" I received in my career my mother always said, "There will be a 'yes' Celie, my baby can paint!" She walks with me now and she travels with me throughout the country in my heart.