TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Jan Spivey Gilchrist’s career as a fine artist and illustrator has spanned over a quarter of a century. Her large paintings and pencil drawings have been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and in Canada. Her illustrations appeared for years in textbooks for adults and children. Gilchrist’s artwork is held in many collections both public and private. Her exhibitions include, The Poet: Portrait of Eloise Greenfield at the Anacostia Museum of the Smithsonian Museums, Washington, D.C., a one-person exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, St. Louis Museum of Art, Museum of the National Center of African American Artists, Boston, Ward-Nasse Gallery, New York, etc. Group exhibitions include the National Museum of Women’s Artists, Wash., D.C., California Museum of African American Artists, Los Angeles, Del Bello Gallery, Toronto, Catherine Lorillard Wolfe National Exhibitions, New York.

Gilchrist’s first children’s book, Children of Long Ago, written by Lessie Jones Little was published in 1988. Since then she has illustrated over fifty books for children. Nathaniel Talking, by Eloise Greenfield won her the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration in 1990 and Night on Neighborhood Street also by Ms. Greenfield won the 1992 Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award for Illustration. This book is also a Reading Rainbow Book. Books illustrated by Ms. Gilchrist have received ALA Notables and numerous prestigious awards.

Dr. Gilchrist was commissioned in February, 2004 to produce seven paintings for Oxygen Television to run as an African American History Month segment, titled, “Everybody’s History,” her paintings were accompanied by words and music and ran throughout each day for the entire month.

Jan Spivey Gilchrist travels annually throughout the United States, Europe and the Islands where she, “studies with her eyes and ears.” Outstanding features and reviews of her work have appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Defender, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, L.A Times, U.S.A. Today, Chicago Sun-times (Kup’s Column) and Ebony Magazine, etc. as well as television and radio.

Dr. Gilchrist is also the author of two picture books, Indigo and Moonlight Gold, and Madelia. She holds a Ph.D. in English, an MFA in Writing, an MA in Painting, and BS Degree in Art Education.

Jan Spivey Gilchrist was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent in October of 2000. She was inducted in the Society of Illustrators in 2001. In 2004, the Park Forest Illinois Public Library named a room in her honor. Eastern Illinois University bestowed on Dr. Gilchrist its highest honor, that of Distinguished Alumni in 1992, for her contributions to children’s literature. In 1990, she joined a long line of historical women as an Honorary Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. The 1998 Chicago Black Book fair named Gilchrist, Illustrator of the Year. Dr.Gilchrist is a member of the Midland Authors and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches Children’s Literature at National Louis University.

She is the wife of Dr. Kelvin Gilchrist and mother of daughter Ronke’ and son William Kelvin. She is the grandmother of Raena Bethany Prude.