George Gadson, graduate of Duke University and native of the small southern town of Ft. Meade, Florida, discovered his talent of art in 1981. While in search of a means of creative relaxation from the rigors of a demanding banking career, he quickly became enamored by the insight, enchantments, and spiritual empowerment that the experience of painting allowed him. He later discovered a deeper expression in creating sculptures and also photography. His work has evolved into use of different medium and today he is one of Florida’s most versatile and celebrated African American artist. Many have referred to him as the “Renaissance Man”.
Grasping at the opportunity to travel led Gadson to study at the University of Valencia in Spain. Later he toured France, England, Germany, Austria and parts of the Caribbean and Virgin Islands. It was these experiences that influenced his aesthetic eye and ability to use colors and techniques to capture the essence and feeling of life, people and their environment. He causes his viewers to feel in part what he feels and experience a moment in time without ever having been there.
The self-taught artist has been commissioned to create works of art for many high profile events and individuals. In 2008 he was invited to create an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree. In 1995 and 1999, respectively, Gadson created two South Florida Super Bowl bronze commemorative sculptures aptly named “The Quarterback” and “The Kicker.” Each sculpture was given to each National Football League Team owner. Working in a variety of mediums, he has also created a bronze relief portrait sculpture of Jim Moran for JM Family Enterprises Inc, the Jim Moran Foundation Award, the African American Achievers Awards, as well as a bronze portrait of Founder Bill Daren of Darden Restaurants, Inc., former owners of Olive Garden and Red Lobster and a chain of other dining establishments. In 2013 Gadson presented Retired Ravens Linebacker with a special sculpture celebration Ray’s induction into the National Football League Hall of Fame.
Gadson has created large scale works for public spaces such as a stone mosaic wall for the City of Lauderhill; a six foot bronze sculpture as part of a water fountain in the City of Tamarac, Florida; a seven foot sculpture for the E. Pat Larkins Community Center for the City Pompano Beach, Florida; a nine foot bronze sculpture for Florida Memorial University’s Lou Rawls Performing Art Center in Miami, Florida; two sculptures measuring 17 feet for the building entrance to the Children Services Council of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach, Florida; two large sculptures for the Urban League of Broward County’s Community Empowerment Center; a bronze sculpture for the International Swimming Hall of Fame, depicting the history of swimmers of African descent; a 15 foot bronze statue of Dr. Kathleen Cooper Wright at the Broward County School Board building; and an 11 foot bronze Sankofa bird monument, celebrating the history of Fort Lauderdale’s African American Community for the past 100 years.
Mr. Gadson work has exhibited throughout Florida and has been featured in South Florida’s premier newspapers and magazines, such as the Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald, and the Florida Trend. He has made several television appearances and was awarded the NBC Channel 6 Spirit of South Florida Award. He is a published author, public art and design consultant, a workshop and motivational speaker, incorporates art based learning in corporate leadership development, training, and conducts community art engagement projects with children and adults, particularly in underserved communities.
Last year, Gadson was the recipient of the coveted Jim Moran Foundation Award. The foundation awards an individual who exemplifies the mission of the Jim Mora Foundation and provides a generous gift to their charity of choice. Gadson started a non-profit, Art-Turnatives for Building Communities in 2010 whose mission is to provide art experiences to children and adults lower income neighborhoods that otherwise may never experience art.. Some of the activities have been providing art classes to children in afterschool programs in West Perrine, Florida, art enrichment activities with youth in foster care and art classes to mentally challenged students at an elementary school in Hollywood, Florida.
Gadson had been married to Phyllis Gadson for 24 years, and is the father of three children, Katherine, Mekael and Chandler. Not only does he take seriously his role as a husband and father, but also as man whom God has anointed to change lives through art.
Mr. Gadson holds a Bachelors of Art degree from Duke University, completed studies at the University of Valencia, Spain and holds a Masters of Arts degree in Education from Brewer Christian College and Graduate School.