“Missionary” Mary Proctor

“Missionary” Mary Proctor

3919 Woodville Highway
Tallahassee, FL
Painting and sculpture (unconventional material), biblical scenes

Talk about your life taking a turn for the better . . . talk about someone with a truly wonderful laugh!

Mary Proctor has both. In the mid-90s she had been running a junk and odds and ends store in rural north Florida when she suddenly turned to making art. She was suffering some severe health problems, and became even more depressed after she lost her grandmother, aunt, and uncle in a tragic house fire. Then God told that “the door is the way,” she began to paint on an old door lying in her yard.

Which she did, with blue and white car paint on a door she had handy. And she felt better. And she hasn’t stopped since. No, really. She’s got a whole salvage lot full of the artwork that’s been both spiritually and financially rewarding for her.

There are doors with the likenesses of African-American heroes like Martin Luther King and Sojourner Truth on them, odes to Coca-Cola and her grandmother, and in general, a sense of the happiness that her missionary work seems to provide.

In February of 1996, “Mary L. Proctor: The Door Paintings,” her second one-woman show, was presented at Tricia Collins-Grand Salon in New York’s Soho.

Now you can find Mary’s work online at the galleries that represent her, in person at the many festivals and shows she attends, and directly for special requests. Mary also owns and operates the American Folk Art Museum & Gallery in Tallahassee, Florida. If you’re ever in town, Mary would love to see you.

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(Photos courtesy of Mike Murphy and Randy Mason, Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations & text © copyright 2006-2014 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)


“Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations Coast to Coast Travel-o-Pedia” by Randy Mason, et. al., Kansas City Star Books, 2009.

On DVD – Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, “Peaches, Beaches, Gators and Grits,” KCPT, Kansas City Public Television, 2005.

“Self Taught, Outsider, and Folk Art—A guide to American Artists, Locations and Resources” by Betty-Carol Sellen with Cynthia J. Johnson, McFarland & Company, 2000.

“Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South”, Vol 2, Arnett, et al, 2001.

“Testimony: Vernacular Art of the African-American South: the Ronald and June Shelp Collection”, Cronwill, Danto, Gaither, Gundaker and McWillie, 2001.

“Extraordinary Interpretations: Florida’s Self-taught Artists” by Gary Monroe, 2003

“American Self-Taught Art: An Illustrated Analysis of 20th Century Artists and Trends with 1,319 Capsule Biographies” by Florence Laffal and Julius Laffal, 2003.

“Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations Coast to Coast Travel-o-Pedia” by Randy Mason, et. al., Kansas City Star Books, 2009.