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 Velma Wallace Rayness  (1896 - 1977)

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Lived/Active: Iowa      Known for: Painting, illustration, art education

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Velma Wallace Rayness (1896-1977)

She was born on 31 October 1896 in Davenport, Iowa, a daughter of William W. and Eva Wallace.  William was employed as a "Painter" during the Des Moines, Iowa 1910 census, and a "Painter, House" there in 1920.  Velma was employed as an "Artist, School" in 1920.

Velma married Gerard M. Rayness on 22 November 1929 in Des Moines, Iowa.  Both were students of Charles Atherton Cumming and taught at the Cummings Art School in Des Moines.  She was living with her husband and her husband's parents in Ames City, Iowa in 1930, employed as a "teacher, private school".  Gerard was employed as a "teacher, public school".  Velma and Gerard moved to Ames City permanently in 1932 and opened a studio near Iowa State College.  Gerard was also an artist.

Andrew Rayness, Gerard's father, was occupied as a "teacher, college" in 1930, which may have influenced Gerard and Velma's choices.  Gerard and Velma taught art to adults and children, and Velma continued to teach after Gerard's death.  Their studio was open for 23 years.  Velma also worked under Grant Wood in the Public Works of Art program in 1933. Both Gerard and Velma were active in the Iowa Art Guild.
Velma is mentioned in Dictionary of Women Artists by Pettys, Who Was Who in American Art by Falk, Davenports Art Reference and Price Guide, Index of Artists by Mallett, several editions of American Art Annual, and Who's Who of American Women by Marquis.  Velma published a book called Campus Sketches of Iowa State College in 1949, and a second edition called Campus Sketches of Iowa State University in 1962.  Velma also collaborated on Charles Atherton Cumming: Iowa's pioneer artist-educator in 1972 published by the Iowa Art Guild.  She also illustrated a book called The Corn is Ripe in 1944. 

Velma exhibited at the Des Moines Women's Art Club, Iowa State Fairs, the Iowa Guild, Davenport Museum of Art, Sioux City Art Center, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Cornell College, and other places.  She won numerous prizes for her work as an artist.  The Rayness' papers are held by Iowa State University.
Velma Rayness died in April 1977.  Gerald Rayness died in 1946.  Both died in Ames City, Iowa.

Information provided by Kevin Daniel

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