Drawn to Nellie Mae Rowe

Celebrating the renowned artist with a comic about her life and work

The cover of the comic Playhouse: The Story of Nellie Mae Rowe. Illustrated by Micah Eubanks.

Nellie Mae Rowe is celebrated as one of the first self-taught Black female artists. Having a childhood lost to hard labor and twice widowed, she expressed herself through her art. Her imaginative works are filled with joy, playfulness, and pride. 

This comic is part of a series Drawn to Art: Tales of Inspiring Women Artists that illuminates the stories of women artists in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Inspired by graphic novels, these short takes on artists’ lives were each drawn by a student-illustrator from the Ringling College of Art and Design.

We invite you to read the comic and share with your friends and young people in your life.