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In 1937, self-taught sculptor William Edmondson became the first African American to earn a solo show at New York's prestigious Museum of Modern Art,  The 62 year old retired janitor-turned-tombstone carver was an unlikely choice, in an unlikely time and place--the American South during the Jim Crow era of segregation.
Guided by deep faith and divine visions, Edmondson skillfully carved hundreds of grave markers and garden sculptures, whose subjects included biblical characters, whimsical animals, neighbors and community heroes. He called the work "miracles I can do." He wasn't looking for fame, but fame found him.

In 1937, Edmondson's strong, confident, yet subtle forms beguiled the modernists' eye. Yet, boxed in by limiting racial stereotypes, his fame was fleeting, and he died in obscurity at his Nashville home in 1951.

Today, after decades of art world neglect, Edmondson's limestone "miracles" are highly prized by collectors and, more importantly, continue to inspire new generations of artists.

"Chipping Away" brings William Edmondson's remarkable story to life by combining groundbreaking new research, interviews with experts and first-person "witnesses" and rare archival images, including the only known film of the artist at work.
Filming is substantially complete, and editing is underway. We are raising money to film additional b-roll, and complete editing, color-grading, animations, image and music licensing, and other finishing costs. Thank you for your donation!

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We will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations.