Knoxville (TN) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated

Knoxville Links Are Keeping Beauford’s Tombstone Beautiful

Home Knoxville Links Are Keeping Beauford’s Tombstone Beautiful

On 11 January 2020, I published a blog post called “Keeping Beauford’s Tombstone Beautiful,” which stated that this year (2020) marks the 10th anniversary of the laying of Beauford’s tombstone and that the funds donated by generous individuals for its upkeep have been almost completely depleted.

I indicated that Les Amis de Beauford Delaney seeks to raise enough money to cover the maintenance fees for the next ten years by March 26, 2020 – the 41st anniversary of Beauford’s death at Sainte-Anne’s Hospital in Paris.

Today I am pleased to announce that the Knoxville (TN) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated has donated the entire amount of the funds required for this purpose!

Knoxville Links
Image courtesy of the Knoxville Links

The Knoxville Links have supported numerous initiatives to preserve and promote Beauford’s legacy since the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition was held in Paris in 2016. Chapter member Sylvia Peters, who is now the director of Gathering Light: The Delaney Project, attended the exhibition and returned to Knoxville determined to “bring Beauford home” by having the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) mount an itinerant version of the show. She told her Links sisters about me, Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, and the exhibition and persuaded them to sponsor my first visit to Knoxville in October 2016.

Monique (seated, third from left) and Knoxville Links
© Wells International Foundation

During that trip, the chapter donated $5000 to the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) to support the “Beauford Delaney in America” (BDIA) initiative to bring Resonance of Form to Knoxville.

Knoxville Links, Monique Y. Wells, and
KMA Executive Director David Butler with check
© Wells International Foundation

BDIA was the precursor for Gathering Light – a multifaceted community project that promotes and celebrates Beauford’s life and art. The chapter is a charter member and promoter of this project and has consistently participated in efforts to make people in Knoxville and the surrounding region aware of Beauford’s story and his work. The international organization of The Links, Incorporated has bestowed an award on the Knoxville chapter for this work.

As part of The Delaney Project, the Links partnered with KMA and West View Elementary School to implement a pilot educational program called “Bringing Beauford Delaney Home.” This was designed to teach the children of Knoxville and Knox County about Beauford’s life and work and to inspire the children to create their own art based on what they learned about him. The program unfolded between February 2 and March 31, 2017 at the school and the museum.

Student artwork at West View Elementary School
Image courtesy of Link Sylvia Peters

The highlight of the experience was the Arts Night event hosted by West View Elementary School on the evening of March 30, where the school proudly displayed the works created by its students. The artwork was subsequently displayed in the Education Gallery at KMA from June 1-30, 2017.

Student artwork at KMA Education Gallery
Image courtesy of the Knoxville Museum of Art

In late 2017-early 2018, the chapter and KMA teamed up once again to host “A Toast to the Arts,” a reception during which KMA unveiled three Beauford Delaney works that it had recently acquired. This event was part of a joint effort to increase awareness of Beauford’s place in the international art world and to raise funds to bring a critical mass of his work home to Knoxville.

Invitation card for 2018 “A Toast to the Arts” event
Image courtesy of the Knoxville Links

The Links hosted a second “A Toast to the Arts” event in Beauford’s honor in September 2019.

Invitation card for 2019 “A Toast to the Arts” event
Image courtesy of the Knoxville Links

Most recently, the Knoxville Links supported the staging of the world premiere of ShadowLight, the Marble City Opera production of the opera about Beauford, with a $25,000 donation.

Marble City Opera Director Kathryn Frady and
Knoxville Links Chapter President Dr. Avice Reid
Image courtesy of the Knoxville Links

At present, chapter members have only seen photos of Beauford’s tombstone. Discussion has begun for the planning of an excursion to Paris later this year so they can visit the gravesite personally and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the laying of the stone.

Beauford’s tombstone at Thiais Cemetery
© Discover Paris!


Monique Wells

© Wells International Foundation

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is supporting the completion of


the first full-length documentary about Beauford