Teachers Institute


George McCormick

Biography | Photo Album

George McCormick, originally from Mississippi, began creating African-American folk art in Milwaukee, WI, in 1993. He says that his craft came to him by prayer. George was learning to create porcelain dolls, but was finding it difficult to find time for the art as his job at the county hospital kept him busy. He recalls praying that he would be able to learn how to carve wood. One evening, George discovered a piece of wood on the floor. A voice in his head told him, "This is my gift to you." Pulling a knife from his pocket, he began carving and hasn't stopped yet.

A spiritual person, George's art reflects the growth he has undergone in his personal life. He spoke about his "flat people" which were representative of people he knew in his youth. George has created dolls in the form of clowns, historical figures, and religious scenes. He makes all of the clothes for the dolls himself.

When asked about his favorite piece of art, George pointed out a doll he made of Mary McCloud Bethune (bottom left), the founder of a school for African-American children. The doll's dress is made from the material of a dress his mother wore in 1955. This doll also won first place at the Holiday of Black Doll Festival in Columbus, Ohio in 1996. George says that his dream is to have his art in the Smithsonian before he dies.

Two of the carved figures George has created


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