Rose Smith was born in Kansas City, Missouri but spent the majority of her childhood in Rondo, Minnesota. Rose began painting at a very young age and in middle school and high school received awards for her work. She began her career designing women’s clothing and display windows for retail stores before going to school for visual arts at the University of Minnesota. Rose has had a robust and varied career, including founding and directing a modeling agency and gift wrapping center.
Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Melvin R. Smith would go on to join the United States Marine Corps and later attend school in Minnesota where he and Rose both met and live today. Melvin received his Bachelor of Art in Journalism in 1975 at the University of Minnesota but it was in 1983 when he began to find his artistic voice through his experimentation in collage and
As the Smiths began cultivating their careers together as visual artists they also set out to travel and spend time in African American renaissance communities such as New York City’s Harlem and Chicago’s Bronzeville. Their travels and experiences led to exhibitions and gallery representation across the nation and also eventually brought the two back to Melvin’s hometown in Oklahoma. In 1997, the two would open and run the Oklahoma Museum of African American Art on NW 10th St. in Oklahoma City for several years before returning to Minnesota. Both artists works can be found in prestigious collections throughout the nation.