Michelle Drane Smith
The Art and Heart of a Sculptor: Portraits in Bronze and Fired Clay

Two and a half decades of effort to capture that elusive quality known as the Human Spirit

The MGCCC Jackson County Fine Arts Gallery is proud to announce the opening of the exhibit “The Art and Heart of a Sculptor: Portraits in Bronze and Fired Clay” featuring the artwork of Michelle Drane Smith The show will open to the public at 12 PM on Thursday, October 21, and will run until Friday, December 17. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9AM-3PM. There will be an Artist Talk/Q&A in the gallery for the opening. There will also be a reception on Saturday, October 23 from 2-4PM.


“Although I actually started my experience in sculpture at age 15, I was unaware that that was what I was doing. I had decided to learn taxidermy and promptly did so. It never occurred to me that building the artificial bodies to go into the skins was sculpture. That lay dormant for over 40 years. In the meantime, I got a degree in nursing from NSU in January of 1961 and a Master’s Degree in Pediatric Nursing Education from the University of Alabama in January, 1967 . . . with three babies. At the end of my first week in graduate school — taking 15 hours and commuting from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa, Alabama 5 days a week — Rene’ was 6 weeks old on Maria’s first birthday, and 3 weeks later Lisa was 4 years old. My husband at that time was getting a Master’s Degree in Periodontal Surgery at the University of Alabama Medical Center. Years later someone asked me how I liked Birmingham, and I replied, “I have no idea what Birmingham was like.”

I started painting at age 38 and enjoyed that enormously, balancing that with 4 children and working in the O.R. in later years. In 1993 on the way to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with Ace he asked, “What are you going to do this summer, Sugar?” I replied, “Oh, I don’t know. I spent all of last summer learning to bake bread at altitude (6,300-7,000 feet); I think I’ll try sculpture . . .” That summer I made 7 portrait busts and was completely thrilled to be doing so. When I got my hands on that clay, I had come home. As far back as I can remember I have enjoyed creative activity of one sort or another, but sculpture continues to be the most exciting, most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in that category.”






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8:00 am – 5:00 pm

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