When you hear Ann Woodford speak, it’s hard not to become inspired. Her voice reveals a deep wisdom, honed by a love of her surroundings despite decades bearing witness to hardship and injustice. Her stories, like her paintings, open the curtain to lives unknown. Her words color a tapestry of the human experience that she’s driven to share before the sands of time hide them forever.
Striving to “make visible the invisible,” Woodford knows that without these stories, whether spoken or painted, the full truth of history – particularly Black history – is at stake. This understanding drives every speaking engagement and art exhibition, leaving her audiences empowered and elevated.
Woodford’s skillful oils, charcoals, and drawings often provoke thought of the people and scenes from her North Carolina home. But they can also be strictly aesthetic, or simply for fun. Her imagination is sparked by people, animals, clouds, trees — even rocks — eliciting both joy and reflection from viewers young and old.
As a young girl growing up in the Jim Crow era, Woodford attended the one-room Andrews Colored/Negro Elementary School. The school sorely lacked resources, but her talent and enthusiasm for art was nurtured by her teacher Ms. Ida Mae Logan, who submitted the young girl’s art to local, state, and county competitions, winning gold keys and blue ribbons.