Theresa Angela Taylor The Circumstances of Building an Honorable Life
“One day, when I went downtown to SoHo and saw the excitement and the colorful people selling art on the street, I knew that I would be an artist.”
For Theresa Angela Taylor, art was a family tradition. When she was three, Taylor’s father taught her how to draw, and she often created her own dolls. “I had a great imagination.” With her two sisters and a brother, Taylor was raised in a creative Harlem family, with the legacy of fabled Harlem Renaissance artists (Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Langston Hughes) always present.
Her grandfather was a jazz singer with Cab Calloway, and her father was a painter. One year “he forgot to get a Christmas tree, so he painted [one] on the wall of our Lenox Avenue apartment.” After he died, her mother (an Ebony magazine model) moved the family to the Bronx, sending the siblings into Manhattan for dancing, singing, and acting classes.
As a high school student at Laurinburg Institute (a fabled North Carolina boarding school with outstanding Black alumni), Taylor discovered she was dyslexic and was diagnosed as ADD. The school was instrumental in instilling confidence and the sense of possibility that led her to work in business and graphic design in the Washington DC area. As an adult, Taylor studied at the Art Institute of Washington, and throughout her long business career, she painted every day.