Heirs of historic KC artist donate five of his paintings to the Nelson

The family of Kansas City artist and educator Leonard Pryor are gifting five of the late artist’s works to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.Pryor, who died in 2015 at the age of 91, was the first Black student enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute.“He was the first Black student enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute, he organized exhibitions of Black artists, and he was also the first Black to be named Dean of Students at KCAI,” The CEO & Directors of the Nelson-Atkins Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell said in a statement Thursday. “His contributions were truly groundbreaking, and we are deeply grateful to his children for reaching out to the museum regarding their desire to preserve their father’s legacy.”The five paintings donated by Reneé Pryor Newton and Craig Pryor North End (1950)Lonesome (1950)After the Bath (1949)Elsie Mountain (1950)Still Life with Pear (1958)The North End and Lonesome are currently on view in Gallery 219 in the suite of galleries dedicated to historic American art.The other paintings are slated to be displayed at a later date. “We are honored to share our dad’s paintings in such a prestigious venue. It is our hope that these gifts will further his legacy of inspiring young artists for many years to come,” Pryors Children said in a joint statement. Pryor enrolled at KCAI after serving as a Pharmacist Mate in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He graduated in 1951 as class president. The painter taught art and photography at Lincoln High School for 17 years. During the 1960s, Pryor was hired as a faculty member at KCAI and became the first Black man to serve as Academic Dean of KCAI. Pryor continued painting into the final decades of his life. He had his first solo exhibition in 1999 at the age of 75. KCAI created the Leonard Pryor Endowment in 2007, a scholarship to help minority students pay tuition and supply costs. The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is free of charge and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

The family of Kansas City artist and educator Leonard Pryor are gifting five of the late artist’s works to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Pryor, who died in 2015 at the age of 91, was the first Black student enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute.

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“He was the first Black student enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute, he organized exhibitions of Black artists, and he was also the first Black to be named Dean of Students at KCAI,” The CEO & Directors of the Nelson-Atkins Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell said in a statement Thursday. “His contributions were truly groundbreaking, and we are deeply grateful to his children for reaching out to the museum regarding their desire to preserve their father’s legacy.”

The five paintings donated by Reneé Pryor Newton and Craig Pryor

  • North End (1950)
  • Lonesome (1950)
  • After the Bath (1949)
  • Elsie Mountain (1950)
  • Still Life with Pear (1958)

The North End and Lonesome are currently on view in Gallery 219 in the suite of galleries dedicated to historic American art.

the nelson receives art from family of leonard pryor

The Nelson-Atkin Museum of Art

Lonesome (1950) Work by Leonard Pryor 

The other paintings are slated to be displayed at a later date.

“We are honored to share our dad’s paintings in such a prestigious venue. It is our hope that these gifts will further his legacy of inspiring young artists for many years to come,” Pryors Children said in a joint statement.

Pryor enrolled at KCAI after serving as a Pharmacist Mate in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He graduated in 1951 as class president.

the nelson receives art from family of leonard pryor

The Nelson-Atkin Museum of Art

The North End (1950) Work by Leonard Pryor 

The painter taught art and photography at Lincoln High School for 17 years. During the 1960s, Pryor was hired as a faculty member at KCAI and became the first Black man to serve as Academic Dean of KCAI.

Pryor continued painting into the final decades of his life. He had his first solo exhibition in 1999 at the age of 75.

KCAI created the Leonard Pryor Endowment in 2007, a scholarship to help minority students pay tuition and supply costs.

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is free of charge and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

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