Kentucky painter Helen LaFrance turns 100 years old
A prominent painter whose works capture the rural, small-town culture of Kentucky turned 100 Saturday.
Helen LaFrance visited a church in Mayfield on Saturday to celebrate her birthday with an unexpectedly large group of friends and family. A documentary about her also was shown at a separate church in Mayfield.
According to a press release, LaFrance's paintings are housed in museums in the U.S. and Europe, and in the collections of Oprah Winfrey and Bryant Gumbel. The self-taught, African American painter's works show people at church, family gatherings, funerals and other aspects of small-town life in western Kentucky.
One of her first known public works is a mural in the St. James AME Church in Mayfield, completed in 1947.
LaFrance also has worked in wood carving and quilting.