Since childhood, I have drawn but never thought of myself as an artist until 1993. About this time I was reading a number of self-help books,
one of which recommended watercolor painting as good therapy for self-esteem. Well, I thought since I could draw, maybe I should try it: what could I lose? So I bought a watercolor
book and the necessary supplies and began teaching myself the medium; I kept at it, improving slowly.
Gloria Steinham, the author of that self-help book, A Revolution From Within, would be proud to know that learning to watercolor did help me: in fact I found myself. I would have loved to drop everything and enroll in an art school, but I had to continue my career as an elementary school teacher since my family seemed to enjoy the necessities of life.
Since 1993, I have read, observed, enrolled in a few classes, and painted whenever time permitted. In 2001, someone suggested that I try my hand at oil painting, so I did, and I've been painting in oils pretty much exclusively ever since.
In 2009, I retired from teaching and became a full-time artist. It's strange being "sixty-something" and starting again when society views people my age as "long in tooth" and "past one's prime." Placing the watercolor brush into the well of paint in 1993, however, was the birth of me as an artist. So I consider my artist self to be a mere "twenty-something," which I say tongue-in-cheek; however, upon reflection, my growth as an artist does resemble that of growing from a child into an adult.
For the first eleven years of my "artist self," I painted what interested me, mostly still lifes and portraits, but in 2004, a visit to an exhibit at The Georgia Museum of Art entitled “Coming Home: American Paintings from 1930-1950” motivated and focused my artistic style and voice. On the walls of the museum hung beautiful rich oils that spoke to the social and cultural issues of that era by portraying the daily lives of ordinary people. These narrative representational paintings, especially the work of the Social Realist, Ben Shahn, captivated me and impacted my artistic sensibility. I had no epiphany that evening but rather a realization that I wanted my work to move beyond depictions of objects and people and toward narrative work that connected with human emotions.
Since 2004, my paintings have focused on people and their stories. I'm very fortunate and grateful to have had many opportunities to exhibit my work regionally and nationally and also to be published in a few magazines and books. I look forward to many more years of artistry.
Melody Croft has been an exhibiting artist for sixteen years. Her work has been chosen in numerous exhibitions in Georgia including
The Lyndon House Arts Center, Athens, GA; Trio Contemporary Art Gallery, Athens, GA; Oconee County Arts Foundation, Watkinsville, GA; Callanwolde Fine Art Center, Atlanta, GA; Lady fest Atlanta,
Atlanta, GA; Marietta-Cobb Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA. Croft’s work has exhibited nationally at the Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, LA: City Gallery, Charleston, SC; Chicago Urban Art
Retreat Center, Chicago, IL; Site: Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY, Janalyn Hanson White Gallery at Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids, IA. In 2018, Melody co-curated the exhibit, Resonance: a
bi-sensory art exhibit at Oconee County Arts Foundation, Watkinsville, GA.
Larry Ossei-Mensah, the Susanne Feld Hilberry senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, awarded her a Merit Award in 2020 in the Lyndon House 45th Annual Juried Exhibition. The Georgia Museum of Art selected Croft in 2012 as a winner in the Kress Project and published her winning painting in their book The Winning Entries, The Kress Project (Georgia Press 2013). Her paintings are in several periodicals and on the cover of a book of poetry, A Thousand Scattered Moments, by Ellen Cowne.
Croft is a self-taught artist living in Athens, GA. She was born in Jackson, Minnesota, and moved to the Southeast at age 11. Melody lives in Athens, Georgia, and commutes daily to her art studio in Jefferson, GA.
Grants and Awards
2020 Merit Award, Lyndon House 45th Annual Juried Art Exhibition, Juror,
Larry Ossei-Mensah: Susanne Feld Hilberry senior curator at the
Museum of Contemporary Art
Detroit, Lyndon House Arts Center, Athens, GA
2012 Kress Project Winner, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA
2018 Resonance: a bi-sensory art exhibit, co-curated with Jackie
Dorsey, Oconee County Arts Foundation, Watkinsville, GA
2021 TOO: An Orientation of Spirit, OCAF, Watkinsville, GA
2021 Ally: A Noun and A Verb, The Tiny Ath Gallery, Athens, GA
2020 Paintings, Athens’ Surgical Center, Athens, GA
2018 Illuminations, Universal Unitarian Church, Athens, GA
2017 Sixteen Stories, Oconee Library, Watkinsville, GA
2015 The Space Between Us (two person show), City Gallery, Charleston, SC
2013 Menagerie: paintings by Melody Croft, White Tiger, Athens, GA
Goddesses: The Real and The Imagined, The Loft Gallery,
2012 Melody Croft Paintings, Hendershots, Athens, GA
2020 Congruence: Summer 2020 Juried Exhibition, Juror, Bridgette Mayer,
I Like Your Work Podcast,
Lyndon House 45th Annual Juried Art Exhibition, Juror, Larry Ossei-
Mensah: Susanne Feld Hilberry senior curator at the Museum of
Contemporary Art Detroit, Lyndon House Arts Center, Athens, GA
2019 Lyndon House 44th Annual Juried Exhibition, Juror, Lauren Haynes:
curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of
American Art and curator of visual arts at the Momentary, Lyndon
House Arts Center, Athens, GA
Art On Paper, Site: Brooklyn, Brooklyn, New York
Callanwolde Juried Art Exhibition, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center,
Concrete and Adrift, Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, LA
2018 National Juried Exhibition, Athica, Athens, GA
Winterville Art Council Juried Exhibition, Winterville Art Center,
Fall Juried Art Exhibition, Tannery Row Artist Colony, Buford, GA
Picturing the Black Fantastic, Lyndon House Arts Center, Athens, GA
Reciprocal IV, University of North Georgia, Watkinsville, GA
Resonance: a bi-sensory art exhibit, Oconee County Arts Foundation,
2017 Critical Concerns, Janalyn Hanson White Gallery, Mount Mercy
University, Cedar Rapids, IA
Lady fest Atlanta, 368 Ponce, Atlanta GA
Nasty Women Athens, Trio Contemporary Art Gallery, Athens, GA
Southworks, Oconee County Arts Foundation, Watkinsville, GA
2016 Lyndon House 41st Annual Juried Exhibition, Lyndon House Arts
Center, Athens, GA
2015 Trilogy: Soul, Marietta Cobb Museum of Art, Marietta, GA
Trilogy: Body, Marietta Cobb Museum of Art, Marietta, GA
Trilogy: Mind, Marietta Cobb Museum of Art, Marietta, GA
2014 Artists from Anywhere but Illinois Art Show, Chicago Urban
Art Retreat Center, Chicago, IL
Herstory, Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center, Chicago, IL
2013 Georgia Small Works 4th Annual Exhibition, Oconee Cultural Art
Foundation, Watkinsville, GA
Body Beautiful...Body Bizarre, Renegade Femme,
Metro Montage XIII, Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, Marietta, GA
Lyndon House Annual 38th Annual Juried Exhibition, Lyndon House
Arts Center, Athens, GA
2011 Artist Juried Exhibit, Hampton Fine Arts Gallery, Greensboro, GA
2010 Five Points Art Festival, Athens, GA
Southworks, Oconee County Arts Foundation, Watkinsville, GA
2008 Lyndon House 31st Annual Juried Exhibition, Lyndon House Arts Center,
2005 Clayton Street Gallery, Clayton Street Gallery, Athens, GA
2004 Lyndon House 29th Annual Juried Exhibition, Lyndon House Arts Center
Bibliography (periodicals and books)
2017 Ryders, Josh and Hilborn, Melissa C. “Melody Croft.” Peripheral
Arteries Contemporary Art Review Special Issue, June 22, 2017,
2016 Exit 271, Georgia Writer's Resource, Cover Art, Winter 2016
2015 Cowne, Ellen. A Thousand Scattered Moments, Author House 2105, Cover.
2014 Thought Notebook Literary and Visual Art Journal, Vol. 2, no. 1. p. 18
2013 Thought Notebook Literary and Visual Art Journal, Cover Art, 4th
Thought Notebook Literary and Visual Art Journal, 4th Quarter, 2013.34-
Women's Caucus for Art. "Stories We Tell." Instant Publishers, 2013. 88-
The Georgia Museum of Art. "The Winning Entries. The Kress Project.
Georgia Museum of Art; University of Georgia 2013. 38-39.Print
Bibliography (news sources)
2020 ________. “Meet Melody Croft: Award-winning Georgia artist
who creates art that examines the status quo and social norms of
modern life. https://shoutoutatlanta.com/ [Atlanta, GA] 28, July.
Almino, Elisa Wouk. “A View From the Easel During Times of
hyperallergic.com 31 July
2019 _________. "Concrete and Adrift: On the Poverty Line."
Alexandria Museum of Art Newsletter. 10 April. Web
Bass, Erin Z. “Shining a Light on Red River Art.” Deep South
Magazine.com 2019/04/02/shining-a-light-on-red-river-art/ 2,
2018 ________. “Meet Melody Croft.” voyageatl.com/interview/meet-
melody-croft-melody-croft-athens-ga [Atlanta, GA] N.p.30 May.
________. “Picturing the Black Fantastics.” https://www.accgov.com/
[Athens, GA] August.
Smith, Jessica. "Resonance and Typo-poetry: Augmenting art with
Audio and Type." Flagpole.com/arts-culture/art-notes [Athens,
GA] 7, Feb.
Ford, Wayne. "Sounds like Art: Athens' Artist to Exhibit at Unique
OCAF Show." OnlineAthens.com/oconee/features [Athens, GA]
________. “ATHICA 2018 Juried Exhibition Features Dodd Grads and
dodd- grads-and-alumni [Athens, GA] N.p.
2017 ________. Flagpole [Athens, GA] 18 Jan, 2017: p 20
2016 Smith, Jessica. "Members Only Athica Highlights its Supporters
Supporters with New Exhibition.” Flagpole [Athens, GA] 14, Dec.
2015 Elingsburg, Scott. "North Charleston City Gallery Displays
Exhibit of Portraits and Abstract Art.” charlestonscene.com. N.p.3
________. "North Charleston Gallery Exhibits Croft, Dietz.”
PostandCourier.com. N.p. 30 August.
_________. "North Charleston City Gallery to Exhibit Works by
Melody Croft and Matthew Dietz.” Moultrienews.com. N.p. 14 August
2014 Grant, Valante. "The Thought Notebook is a Unique Outlet
for Artists.” Examiner.com. N.p. 26 June.
2012 Prochaska, Michael. "Artist Blends Time Periods." The Oconee
Enterprise [Watkinsville, GA] 29 Nov. 2012: A12.
________. Flagpole [Athens, GA] 20 Nov. 2012: p. 22
2011 VanHoose, Joe. “Lyndon House shows off ‘exceptional’
artists.” Athens Banner-Herald [Athens, GA] 27 March, 2011:E8
2009 Flagpole [Athens, GA] 11 March, Cover