John Anthony Kendrick: “An Artist at Rest”

Through a series of compelling drawings and paintings, this show honors the promising artist who received his MFA degree from the UMASS Art Department and died suddenly in 1982 at the age of 29 while studying to receive his doctorate at the University of Illinois.

John Anthony Kendrick was born on November 6, 1952 in Roanoke, Virginia. During his early elementary school days his art talent became known, especially during the art talent shows that displayed many of his works from the fence of the school yard. After intermediate school, he decided he would attend the High School of Art and Design. There he studied painting, exhibiting tremendous creativity.

John Anthony Kendrick completed carvings, sketches, oil on canvas and portraits, and used his talent to mentor those who were incarcerated, as well as the students he mentored as a doctoral candidate. While growing up in Harlem, his vision would walk with him to sketch the surrounding life on the streets. He also used comic books, magazines and photography to help pull his vision into the art world.

With an enormous talent, he was always such a serious young man, taking in all he could during his short life to learn about art and its history. Dedicated to his work, he never stopped to take a break. He set goals and was determined to succeed. While working to achieve his goals, he bartered many of his works in return for services (such as dentistry). He also sold one of his earlier works to Earl Monroe former NBA player.

His sister Gay Chestnut, who is the curator of this exhibit attests: “After his death, many of his works of art were left behind, diminished into the unknown from his last known residence. Many others were displayed and protected by the love of our mother prior to her death. John Anthony Kendrick is ‘an artist at rest.’ As the works of art he left behind continues to be displayed, the silence of his talent now opens up to the world.”

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