Asheville native Jean Wall Penland, a visual artist who co-founded the first working-artist exhibition space in Asheville in 1983, died on July 7. She was 81.

Penland was co-founder of Atelier 10, the first working-artist exhibition space in downtown Asheville in 1983, and was a frequent exhibitor at High Tea Café, a local gathering place on Wall Street, according to her obituary.

In addition to doing graphic arts and being a full-time studio artist, she also worked as the art director of North Carolina’s The Arts Journal from 1978-1989. Penland determined the graphic image of the monthly magazine.

During her career, Penland received grants from the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation. The foundation was established  by Lee Krasner, a major abstract expressionist painter and the widow of Jackson Pollock, to support working visual artists. Penland also received a grant from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, a foundation set up to in honor of Adloph Gottlieb, a major abstract expressionist whose work is in collections of more than 100 museums around the world

Penland earned her bachelor of music degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a master of arts degree in painting from Western Carolina University, and has studied architecture at the N.C. State University School of Design and Cooper Union in New York City. She worked as a music hand-copyist in Manhattan before returning to Asheville to start her work as a painter, drawer, sculptor and printmaker. She also taught visual art courses at Western Carolina University, as well as at community colleges in Buncombe, Haywood and McDowell Counties.

Her work has been selected for several collections including the Asheville Art Museum, Memorial Mission Hospital, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the Biltmore Estate, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Haywood Park Hotel and Duke University.

A celebration of life service will be held at a later date, according to her obituary. Memorial donations may be made to the nonprofit Our Voice, 35 Woodfin Street, Asheville, 28801.

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