Inez Brown was born October 16, 1928, in Webster Groves, Missouri. Orphaned at an early age, she lived with her maternal grandparents in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where she received an eighth grade education. At age 16, Inez came to California, got married, worked as a maid and cook, and raised two adopted sons.

After a near death experience at the age of 72, the sub-acute care unit of Alameda Hospital in Alameda, California became her home. Dependent on a ventilator to help her breathe and confined to a wheelchair, Inez began participating in the Art With Elders Program at the hospital. At first she was hesitant saying that she did not know how to draw. “They wheeled me into class, gave me some paper and a pen and I just started drawing. It started small and got bigger and bigger,” she would say with a wide smile.
         Please click on image above for larger view.
Under the auspices of Art With Elders, Inez’s art has been exhibited at numerous venues throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including the M.H. de Young Museum.

Inez has a strong sense of composition and uses texture and vibrant colors to make her images come alive. Using various art media including watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink, oil pastels, crayon, and colored pencils, Inez magnificently captures the essence of her subject be it people, landscapes, sky, water, trees, or other elements of nature. Many of her artworks are inspired by pictures from art books, travel magazines and photographs. Her collages reflect her childhood memories and deep love of family.

Inez’s eyes would light up when she talked about her art. In a whispery voice she would say as she pointed upward, “I asked the Lord to let me leave something behind for people to remember me by and he answered my prayer. I am satisfied.” Inez passed away on August 1, 2012.
Inspired by her aunt’s discovery of her artistic talent at the age of 74, her niece, oral historian Nancy Thompson produced a 12-minute documentary film titled Mrs. Brown’s Beauty – A Story of Art and Inspiration. The film has been shown at several national and international film festivals. Nancy also created a website ( and produced two YouTube art videos so that Inez’s work can be viewed by people around the world.

Nancy states, “My aunt’s art and story are an inspiration that I want to share with others. I am committed to keeping her legacy alive.”