A Photographer of Note: Artist Geleve Grice
The archived virtual exhibit titled, "A Photographer of Note: Arkansas Artist Geleve Grice," takes you through the life and career of one of the prominent Arkansas photographers of the 20th century. Geleve Grice's work was an important contribution to Arkansas black history that can be experienced online.
Geleve Grice was born in Tamo in 1922, but his interest in photography dates from his teenage years in Little Rock. Before he graduated from Dunbar High School in 1942, Daisy Bates had arranged for his first published pictures to appear in the Arkansas State Press. As a university student at Arkansas AM&N in Pine Bluff, his work for the student yearbook was impressive enough to get him hired by Art Department Chair John Howard as the school's staff photographer.
For more than thirty years, Grice operated a commercial studio in Pine Bluff, where his vocation took him to thousands of weddings, proms, graduations, funerals, parades, music recitals, advertisements, athletic events, beauty contests, and concerts. In the days of segregated school systems, he traveled the state with a set of graduation gowns making class pictures for hundreds of students.
Meanwhile, on his own time, his avocational love of photography led him to make thousands of images for no commercial motive. He took pictures of abandoned buildings, old farm equipment, vegetables from his garden, men drinking beer and little girls showing off their Sunday clothes. In a half century of diligent work that combined his business with his pleasure, Geleve Grice, truly "a photographer of note," assembled a rare and rich portrait of Arkansas life. Mr. Grice passed away in August of 2004.
The life and work of Geleve Grice and other notable Arkansas photographers can be enjoyed online, thanks to the Old State House Museum's virtual exhibits.