Millie Howell & son, David Howell


Portrait of Millie Howell by Homer Casteel (1919-1972)

On Monday, I was in Philadelphia, Mississippi, at the home of artist Millicent “Millie” Howell. Born in 1927 in Meridian, she may be the only living artist who attended art workshops at Allison’s Wells resort in Way, Mississippi. The tradition of artists gathering twice yearly to study with a guest artist became known as Mississippi Art Colony. It met at Allison’s Wells from 1948 until 1963 when the resort burned. Millie Howell participated in the Mississippi Art Colony in the spring and fall of every year, she says, until the past couple of years.


Photograph of Millie Howell by Florence Mars, who wrote Witness in Philadelphia (1977), about the murders of three civil-rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Mars was a native of Philadelphia. Her obituary is on the websites of NPR and The Washington Post.


Millie’s son, David Howell (b. 1954), is also an Abstract Expressionist painter. After a career in New York as a faux-finish painter, he returned to his hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi. In Mississippi, he continued to work as a faux-finisher and returned to fine art painting. In recent years, he has exhibited at the Neshoba County Fair, at the Meridian Museum of Art’s Bi-State Art Competition, and at the Horne Gallery in Meridian.

I’ll post images of Millie’s and David’s paintings very soon: hopefully tomorrow. In the meantime, has anyone seen other photographs by Florence Mars?