Blog Article

An Artist Never Retires: Jean Parish, 1917-2013

November 3, 2015 -

Jean Parish, founder of the Carol Woods Art Committee, exemplified the words of Henry Moore: “There is no retirement for an artist; it’s your way of living, so there’s no end to it.” Jean’s life was dedicated to art. Her mother was educated as an artist and taught art in Oneonta, NY.  Jean’s childhood home housed a well-equipped shop. Mother Maud had a forge for metal-working. Father Earle (a banker) had a lathe for furniture-making. Jean had a potter’s kick wheel. From an early age, art was part of her life.  She was showered with art supplies for birthday presents and attended art courses in high school, and even took a trip to New York art museums conducted by the art teacher. Her life course was set. She was dedicated to art; she created it, taught it, and fostered the work of other artists.

With a major in fine arts from Ohio State, study at the Art Students League and the Parson School of Design, she worked as a designer in New York City for two decades. Her designs included wall paper, fabrics, murals, furniture and architectural details. She received an MFA from Drake University and then taught art at SUNY, Oneonta, for 14 years. She was a prolific painter and exhibited widely, including one-person shows.

Jean selected Winston-Salem as her new home in 1981 because of its vibrant art community; there she continued as an actively practicing artist and exhibited both paintings and 3-dimensional constructions.

Jean moved to Carol Woods in 1997. She began fostering the arts by sponsoring in-house exhibits by local area artists as well as residents and staff of Carol Woods. Her own retrospective show of 53 pieces at Carol Woods in 2008, including paintings and 3-dimensional art, was greatly enjoyed by residents. Chapel Hill also profited by her presence. She served on the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission and was a member of the Ackland Museum Guild. Her last major art creation was a large abstract sculpture that she gave to the Seymour Senior Center. At least 17 of her paintings grace the public spaces of Carol Woods, and many are held privately by residents. Jean remains a creative force for art at Carol Woods even beyond her death. Her vision for art at Carol Woods is a lasting legacy.

—  Written by Carol Woods Residents Audrey B. and Blair B.