Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1950, Oletha DeVane received her MFA in painting from the University of Massachusetts in 1976. Her debut exhibition that year at the Springfield Museum of Art was followed by numerous solo and group shows throughout the east coast. The artist then returned to Maryland and became deeply involved in Baltimore’s arts community as an artist, advocate, and educator, serving as a Program Director for the Maryland State Arts Council from 1979-1992. DeVane is currently the head of visual arts at the McDonogh School in Owing Mills.
In 2003, DeVane was commissioned by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture to create a video installation exploring the state’s history of lynching. Her more sculptural works’ exploration of spiritual themes draw upon African diasporic traditions, evoking transformation and referencing stories and myth. Glass vessels adorned by the artist incorporate beads, expressive clay sculpted figures, wood, mirrors, and other found objects like plastic figurines and bullet casings.