Jessie Beard Rickly
JESSIE RICKLY REMEMBERS always being interested in art, but not having many opportunities to learn in Leeper, Mo. Finally, in her late teens, she convinced her parents to let her go to St. Louis to begin her formal training and study at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts.
Rickly was an active member of the St. Louis arts community from the 1920s through the 1960s, exhibiting her work, giving public lectures and promoting the arts. She was a founder and member of several artist groups, such as Independent Artists of St. Louis, New Hats, Missourians and the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, all of which were influential in bringing to the public and educating them about the contemporary styles of the times. However, probably her most substantial contribution to the arts at the time was in 1932 when she and Aimmee Schweig founded the Ste. Genevieve Artist Colony. Some of the country’s top artists, such as Thomas Hart Benton, spent time painting and teaching at the Ste. Genevieve colony.
One of Rickly’s driving forces was the responsibility she felt as a professional artist to create an environment where artists met their artistic ambitions as well as their need for economic sustainability.
Rickly won numerous awards throughout her career in local and regional exhibits and had a substantial impact on the arts in Missouri for many decades.