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Michelle Vignes


French-born photographer, educator and long-time ArtSeed friend and advisor Michelle Vignes (1928-2012) photographed major social movements of the past half-century’s American history. She moved to San Francisco in 1966. Recording important events of political and cultural change she captured Native Americans’ 1969-1971 occupation of Alcatraz Island, the American Indian Movement’s 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, Vietnam War protesters burning draft cards, Black Panthers, daily life in Mexican pueblos, Oakland’s vibrant blues scene in the 1980s, and gospel singers at the Holy Ghost Deliverance Temple in Berkeley. Vignes’ acclaimed black-and-white photographs have appeared in publications around the world, including Time, Life, Vogue, and Newsweek. Vignes received numerous awards, including the Chevalier des Arts des Lettres by France’s Minister of Culture and the Oakland Museum’s Dorothea Lange Award for distinguished work by a woman photographer. In 2003 Michelle Vignes’ archives were acquired by UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. Click to Read Interview.

Michelle is missed by many but her legacy will live on in the minds of young people, their mentors and supporters who go to the ArtSeed Cottage, a place with a view, library, garden, and archival materials with which to make art! In The Perfect House the writer Witold Rybczynski supposes that the great architect, Andrea Palladio, despite his humble origins, “…was welcomed by sophisticated men…the learned conversations, the study of plans, the sketching of buildings, and the contact with men for whom architecture was a subject of everyday vital concern, deepened Andreas’s interest and inevitably influenced his thoughts of the future.”

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