Photo by: Nina Howell Starr
Propelled by her faith, discipline and dreams, Minnie Evans’ story and artistic journey is a triumph of the human spirit.
“This art that I have put out has come from nations I suppose might have been destroyed before the flood...No one know anything about them, but God has given it to me to bring them back into the world." - Minnie Evans
The one-hour documentary film Minnie Evans: Draw or Die explores the inspirational life and artistic mastery of one of the most important African-American artists of the 20th century. She lived and created during a time when black, woman and artist were not words used to describe someone with her incredible gifts. Minnie Evans was born in 1892 and raised by her grandmother in Wilmington, NC during a time of racial turmoil in the city. Even as a young girl, Minnie Evans was a dreamer; and her remarkable dream life existed in sharp contrast to the segregated world she was born into.
Minnie Evans began drawing in 1935, compelled by dreams and later a voice that suggested she must “draw or die.” The desire to fulfill her soul’s purpose given by God is at the center of her work. During her lifetime she drew an estimated 2000 pictures using brown paper, notebook pages found materials and later, painting, collage and canvas. Her design imagination, use of symmetry, color, harmony, beauty and balance belong in the same conversation as other great American artists. Evans died in 1987, leaving a body of work that speaks with a vigorous imagination and stands as an eloquent testimony to the power of art to light a shadowy world.
Minnie's voice sheds light on her life, mysterious visions and her art
Deep in the archives of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, lie hours of taped conversations between self-taught, visionary artist Minnie Evans and photographer, Nina Howell Starr. Their discussions from the '60's-70's reveal their loving friendship as well as Minnie's resiliency and the connectivity she had to God and nature. Grounded in the forms and compositions she produced, the visuals of the film will employ archival imagery, Nina Howell Starr's powerful black and white photography and also feature the beautiful coastal landscapes that inspired her work.
Minnie Evans with Nina Howell Starr / Wilmington, NC, mid 1960's
JOIN US and HELP US COMPLETE THIS FILM
Contribution are tax-deductible through the film's 501c3 fiscal sponsor Southern Documentary Fund (SDF).
"Minnie Evans: Draw or Die" will introduce to a wider audience one of the most important American artists of the 20th century. THANK YOU for your support to fund production. Click above or here to donate online.
OR write check to Southern Documentary Fund. ***In MEMO line please write for "MINNIE EVANS: DRAW or DIE." Please include your contact info & email address and mail to: Southern Documentary Fund, P.O. Box 3622, Durham NC 27702
SDF also accepts bank wire transfers. Tax letter policy: SDF issues a tax receipt for all donations at the level of $250 and above.
Photo: Cape Fear Museum
Film Crediting for Donors
End of Film Credits:
Executive Producer: $25,000 +
Co-Executive Producer: $15,000-$24,00
Contributing Producer: $5,000-$14,500
Production possible with support of: 2,500-$4,500
Additional Funding by: $500-$2,400
Contributions from: $250-$400;
Website, Emails: Thanks to: $200 and less
Minnie’s visions specifically speak to my fascination with the supernatural and their recurring motifs connecting God, humans and nature — a message we need to embrace, and quickly, in order to live in synchronicity with the planet.
Andrea Arria-Devoe is a lifestyle writer and an editor. She most recently wrote a column on sustainability for GOOP, where she covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to intersectional environmentalism and interviewed influencers and activists in the climate space. She was an Executive Producer on Straws, a short documentary released in 2017 that was catalytic in raising public awareness on the environmental and health hazards linked to the rise of single-use plastics and its relationship to the fossil fuel industry. She is on the Board of Trustees for the Climate Museum in New York City, and serves on the advisory board for Plastic Pollution Coalition, as well as the New Standard Institute, the organization spearheading New York’s Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act. “I joined Linda on Minnie Evans: Draw or Die because STRAWS became an essential vehicle for calling people to action around an issue I cared deeply about. My interest in self-taught artists and their unique reflection on the world drew me to this project. Minnie’s visions specifically speak to my fascination with the supernatural and their recurring motifs connecting God, humans and nature — a message we need to embrace, and quickly, in order to live in synchronicity with the planet.
Thanks to production FUNDING DONORS
Last updated 10/23
Executive Producer Level: Agnes Gund
Executive Producer Level: Andrea Arria-Devoe
Co-Producer: Olympia Stone, Floating Stone Productions
Contributing Producer: Annie Gray Sprunt
Production possible with support of: Wendy Williams
Additional Funding by; The Arts Council of Wilmington & NHC, Janie & Carter Lambeth, John Clark & Mary Boney Denison, David Dyer, Janet Kenworthy, Jennifer Kraner & Tony Chambers, Molly Matlock, Steve Tretrault, Doug & Liling Warren
Thanks to our Contibutors: Paul & Maureen Baron, Molly Brooks, Jean Capps, Liz Coffey, Beverly Evans, Norris & Louise Evans, Mary & Deanes Gornto, Bonnie Monteleone, Mimi Saffer, Louise & Matt Scharf,
David & Marsha Warren, Heather Wilson,
TO DATE WITH
DR. ELIZABETH PENTON
BERTHA BOYKIN TODD
ESTHER ADLER, MoMA
BLAIRE JOHNSON - Cinematography, RANDY BENSON - Cinematography, DAHLIA DENNISON- Cinematography | BRAULIO LINN - Sound Recording, Mark Barroso - Sound Recording
TIA ADKINS - Research & Administrative Assistance | NURI MUHAMMED - Production Assistance
Dr. Theodore “Teddy” Burgh, Terrance “Terry” Thompson aka 2 Nice Guys - music score