Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Untitled (Playhouse and Cross)

Drawing on cardboard of a large flower with red and blue petals, with a red barn and blue cross below.

Zoom and Share Buttons

Object Details


Nellie Mae Rowe, American, 1900–1982


before 1978


Crayon and pencil on cardboard


13 x 9 inches


Gift of Judith Alexander

Accession #


Image Copyright

© Estate of Nellie Mae Rowe/High Museum of Art, Atlanta.


The population of Vinings was in the hundreds when Rowe moved to it around 1930, following her nephew Joe Brown Sr., who had already relocated there. They were part of a small settlement of Black families that relied on a segregated school, two churches, and a cemetery. Her second husband, Henry Rowe, is buried in that cemetery, which was just up a hill from her home. In this early drawing of her Playhouse, she celebrates the cemetery’s proximity and holy presence through the crucifix and radiating floral form in the sky.