AMY C. EVANS | artist & documentarian
I am always seeking out stories. Whether by picking up an old lard can at an antique mall and wondering about the life of its previous owner, or interviewing a soul food cook about his signature sweet potato pie*, I am constantly curious about the lives of others.
My stories take many forms. Some are objects that hold secrets within an aged patina, relics from another era. Many are told to me by friends and strangers, people I meet as I explore the backroads of the American South. A select few are conjured up in my imagination and become paintings. For me, all of these sources are intertwined.
These are the connections I explore through Art & Pie, creating and sharing documents—words and sounds, pictures and paintings—that tell a story.
I grew up in Houston, Texas, where I attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. I continued my art training in Baltimore and received a B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art. After a short stint in Savannah, Georgia, I returned to my hometown of Houston. It didn’t take too long for my wanderlust to kick back in, so I set my sights on graduate school. In 2001, I packed up my pick-up truck and headed to Oxford, Mississippi, where I immersed myself in the culture of the South—storytelling in all its fabulous forms—obtaining an M.A. in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi in 2003. I liked the place so much that I called Mississippi home for 13 years, working as the lead oral historian for the Southern Foodways Alliance, documenting the South’s culinary culture from Texas to North Carolina, and continuing to make paintings, many of which have been inspired by my fieldwork.
Today, I’m back in Houston, still in search of vintage objects, stories, and pie.
GALLERY REPRESENTATION > Koelsch Gallery - Houston, TX
*My preferred pie is sweet potato, and my favorite one is made by Mr. Walter Sculark of Drew, Mississippi.
"Evans is not a mere nostalgia lover; she has serious art and history chops."
-Catherine D. Anspon, Paper City Magazine
AMY C. EVANS is an award-winning artist, writer, and documentarian based in Houston, Texas. She graduated from the city's acclaimed High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), holds a BFA in Printmaking from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and an MA in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi. Amy's paintings have appeared in Southern Living, Southern Cultures, and on CNN’s Eatocracy and the Oxford American blog. Her writing has appeared in Saveur, The Bitter Southerner, The Local Palate, and Cornbread Nation 5: The Best of Southern Food Writing. Amy built the documentary program at the Southern Foodways Alliance, headquartered at the University of Mississippi, where she served as their lead oral historian for more than a decade. The Mississippi Historical Society has twice recognized her work, and Food & Wine magazine named Amy one of the “most fearsome talents” in the culinary world. She returned home to Houston in 2014 and embarked on an exciting freelance career, utilizing her varied skills and interests to explore new methods of storytelling. Amy's most recent project, Houston in 2020: Self-Employed Black Artists, was funded by a grant from the Houston Arts Alliance. Her first book, co-authored with Martha Hall Foose and published by Chronicle Books, A Good Meal Is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South, was released in April 2020 and was celebrated as "one of the most unique art volumes that doubles as a cookbook." Amy's favorite pie is sweet potato.
1997 - Present KOELSCH GALLERY - Houston, TX
AWARDS & GRANTS
2021 Support for Artists and Creative Individuals Grant (additional support for 2020 grant projects in response to COVID-19)
HOUSTON ARTS ALLIANCE – Houston, TX
2020 City of Houston CARES Act Program for Arts and Culture Grant - HOUSTON ARTS ALLIANCE - Houston, TX
Support for Artists and Creative Individuals Grant – HOUSTON ARTS ALLIANCE – Houston, TX
2017 Harvey Arts Recovery Fund Grant - HOUSTON ARTS ALLIANCE - Houston, TX
Hurricane Harvey Artist's Grant - MID-AMERICA ARTS ALLIANCE - Kansas City, MO
Presenter's Scholarship - ORAL HISTORY ASSOCIATION - Minneapolis, MN
2016 Houston's Harlem Renaissance - Successfully funded KICKSTARTER campaign - Online
2015 Artist in Residence - APPALACHIAN FOOD SUMMIT - Abingdon, VA
2014 Tabasco Guardian of the Tradition Award - SOUTHERN FOODWAYS ALLIANCE - Oxford, MS
2012 New Media Award – INTERNATIONAL ASSOC. OF CULINARY PROFESSIONALS (IACP) – New York, NY
Short-Form Audio Award – INTERNATIONAL ASSOC. OF CULINARY PROFESSIONALS (IACP) – New York, NY
2009 Global Vision Award: Culinary Heritage (SFA Culinary Trails) - TRAVEL + LEISURE MAGAZINE - New York, NY
2006 Elbert R. Hilliard Award for Outstanding Oral History Project: Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail - MISSISSIPPI HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Jackson, MS
2005 Artist’s MiniGrant - MISSISSIPPI ARTS COMMISSION – Jackson, MS
Elbert R. Hilliard Award for Outstanding Oral History Project: Doe’s Eat Place – MISSISSIPPI HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Jackson, MS
2004 ’04 Tastemaker Awards – FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE - New York, NY
1992 Jules M. Bodarky Scholarship - MARYLAND INSTITUTE COLLEGE OF ART - Baltimore, MD
1991 Departmental Scholarship in Printmaking - MARYLAND INSTITUTE COLLEGE OF ART – Baltimore, MD
1989 2nd Place Award - NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR ADVANCEMENT IN THE ARTS (YOUNG ARTS) - Miami, FL
Fanny B. Talheimer Scholarship- MARYLAND INSTITUTE COLLEGE OF ART – Baltimore, MD
Rhode Island School of Design’s Annual Art Award - HSPVA - Houston, TX
CRS, Incorporated Architects Scholarship - HSPVA - Houston, TX