TUESDAY

As a child living in Georgia in the early 1900s, Nellie Mae Rowe got into trouble for tying her family’s laundry into doll-like shapes. An elementary school teacher noticed Rowe’s budding creativity and remarked that she “could be an artist,” but the child’s after-school time was filled with picking cotton, peas, and sorghum on her father’s farm. Many years later, however, after Rowe’s second husband died, she turned her house and yard into a mystical “playhouse” adorned with her own drawings, collages, paintings, sculptures, and chewing-gum dolls. Some people believed Rowe was a “hoodoo”: Her windows were broken and her artworks ripped down and thrown into the road. But the harassment eventually stopped, and between 1973 and 1975, more than 800 visitors toured Rowe’s property, signed her guest book, and marveled at her idiosyncratic art, in which oversized cows jump over the moon and colorful birds float above hills and valleys, guarding the miniature people below (her Cow Jump Over the Mone is pictured). “People say, ‘Nellie, what’s that?’ I don’t know what it is, but I know one thing: It is in my mind. I draw things you ain’t never seen born into the world.” Today, art historian Lee Kogan presents a lecture on Rowe’s life and work in conjunction with the exhibit “The Art of Nellie Mae Rowe: Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do” (titled after Rowe’s favorite gospel song)—on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday to Sunday, Sept. 12—at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 15, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW. Free. For reservations call (202) 783-5000. (Ayesha Morris)