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Minnie Evans (1892-1987)  a self-educated NC artist recognized internationally for her intriguing art.  

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.

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. 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.

Artist Minnie Evans, 1969. Notice the tackle box used for her art supplies.  Photo: Courtesy of Cape Fear Museum

WATCH THE TRAILER 

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 visionary work. During her lifetime she drew an estimated 3000 pictures using crayon and other media on found and donated materials. Evans's paintings and drawings are in the collections of prominent art museums, yet she's not widely recognized.

 

The film lifts the unique voice of self-taught artist Minnie Evans from conversations between Evans and photographer, Nina Howell Starr.  Preserved in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art archives, their taped discussions from the '60's-70's reveal a loving friendship and Minnie's resiliency. Grounded in the compositions and forms she produced, the film's visuals will employ archival images, Nina Starr's black and white photography along with the gardens and coastal landscapes that inspired Minnie's work.  

Minnie Evans with Nina Howell Starr / Wilmington, NC, mid 1960's

“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

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 self-taught 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.                                                              

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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

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Executive Producer
Andrea Arria-Devoe

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.

Support We've Received from Across the USA! 

Executive Producer Level: Agnes Gund

Executive Producer Level: Andrea Arria-Devoe

Co-Producer: Olympia Stone, Wendy Williams

Contributing Producer: Annie Gray Sprunt

Production possible with support of: The Arts Council of Wilmington & NHC

 

Additional Funding by;  Janie & Carter Lambeth, John Clark & Mary Boney Denison, David Dyer, Janet Kenworthy, Jennifer Kraner & Tony Chambers, Molly Matlock, Betsy Royal,

Martha & Don Shafer, 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

INTERVIEWS
TO DATE WITH

ADDITIONAL
FILM TEAM

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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

LOUIS ROSS

Smithsonian Museum of American Art:

LESLIE UMBERGER

AMBER KERR

CHRISTIAN DANIEL

BERTHA BOYKIN TODD

ESTHER ADLER, MoMA

CARA ZIMMERMAN

SHARI CAVIN

TOM PARKER

FRANK MARESCA

NORRIS EVANS

BEVERLY EVANS

WAYNE EVANS

ANNE BRENNAN

NATHAN KERNAN

WENDY WILLIAMS

DR. ELIZABETH PENTON

Partners

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