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Dean Mitchell oil painting donated to arts center

The Gadsden Arts Center and Museum recently announced its most recent permanent collection acquisition – “Laid Back,” a 2001 oil painting by nationally renowned artist and Quincy native Dean Mitchell, gifted to Gadsden Arts by Jack and Luanna Morris of Hilton Head Island, S.C.

“Laid Back” is a quintessential example of Mitchell’s knack for composition and depth in portrait painting and was featured in Black Romantic, a 2002 landmark exhibition of black artists organized by the Studio Museum of Harlem, New York.

“Gadsden Arts is honored to be selected by the Morrises to receive this important piece of Mitchell’s work,”  Gadsden Arts Center Executive Director Grace Robinson says in a press release.

The addition of “Laid Back” underscores the museum’s commitment to building its collection of works by contemporary artists from the southeastern U.S., Robinson adds. “Laid Back” is the fourth painting by Mitchell to enter the museum’s permanent collection, which previously included three of Mitchell’s early watercolors.

“Mitchell’s paintings of landscapes and communities capture the raw nobility that lies just beneath the surface of everyday scenes. His depictions of the Southern experience are a core element of his work, and this portrait of Eddie Lee, a local mechanic in the town of Quincy, is rendered with the quiet dignity that has become Mitchell’s trademark,” Robinson says. “This painting exemplifies a central theme of Mitchell’s work, celebrating the dignity the people and places that we often overlook and undervalue.”

Last year, Mitchell opened a gallery space to exhibit his work at 11 W. Jefferson St. in Quincy. Called the Marie Brooks Gallery, the name pays homage to Mitchell’s grandmother.

The Gadsden Arts Center and Museum is at 13 N. Madison St., Quincy. For more information call 850-294-6490 or visit

Special to The Herald