Georgette E. Seabrooke Powell was born on August 2, 1916 in Charleston, South Carolina, and grew up in the Yorkville neighborhood of New York City. She graduated from Washington Irving High School, the prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, both in New York City, receiving the silver medal for painting. At age 57, she earned her Bachelor‘s of Fine Arts degree from Howard University, School of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C. As a teenager, Ms. Powell studied with two great artists, James L. Wells, at the Harlem Art Workshop and Gwendolyn B. Bennett, at Harlem Community Center. She also studied with several Harlem Renaissance Artists, who inspired her and that she remained close to and they were Augusta Savage, Romare Bearden, Charles Alston and Jacob Lawrence.
While studying at Cooper Union, Ms. Powell was chosen at age 18, the youngest to receive the title “Master Artist”, and was commissioned to be part of the Federal Art Project (FAP), for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), where she painted a controversial large-scale mural in the Harlem Hospital. Ms. Powell was determined to reflect the reality of her environment and portray African-Americans in her piece-not illustrations commonly depicted in public works of art at that time---and she would not relent until her concepts were accepted. Today, her mural is being restored and can be seen in the Lobby of Harlem Hospital’s new wing. She was also selected to paint a mural for Queens General Hospital in Long Island, New York.
Ms. Powell was Registered Art Therapist, and worked in this capacity at the Department of Human Services, District of Columbia. She worked with children and adults at Area B, Mental Health Clinic and D.C. General Hospital.
Ms. Powell founded Tomorrow’s World Art Center, Inc. in 1975, formerly called Operation Heritage, which she operated from 1969 to 1975. She served as an arts educator, mentor, and coach for numerous aspiring artists in the Washington DC, Metropolitan Area. Through this organization, she began sponsoring “Art in the Park”, a community event that spanned 38 years, and showcased aspiring artists.
Ms. Powell’s has exhibited throughout the United States and other countries to include Venezuela, Nigeria and Senegal. She has received countless awards and honors to include the “2003 Visionary Leadership Project”, “Legacy Keeper” from Dr. Camille O. Cosby, President and Co-Founder and Renee Pouissant, Executive Director, Co-Founder. She is in the D.C. Hall of Fame, receiving “The Legacy Award in Cultural Art”, the Hall of Fame, D.C. Department of Recreation and Parks, two Mayor’s Awards from District of Columbia Mayors; the Ageless Heroes Award for Creativity, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, presented by the former President George HW. Bush, the Sojourner Truth Award, presented by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s League, and many other, many of which can be seen on-line by performing a web search.
Ms. Powell was married to the late Dr. George W. Powell and raised three children. She and her husband built a retirement home in Palm Coast, Florida, where she passed in December, 2011.