Reflections of Home: The Art of Joseph Dickinson opens Thursday at the Delta Heritage Center

BROWNSVILLE TN (June 26, 2023): A special art exhibit featuring the work of Brownsville native Joseph Dickinson opens this Thursday, June 29, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn. “Reflections of Home: The Art of Joseph Dickinson” features over 20 portraits, abstracts and landscapes painted by Dickinson during his lifetime. The exhibition opens with a reception Thursday afternoon from 4-6 pm and will remain on display until August 30.

“This exhibit features perfect examples of Joseph Dickinson’s realistic painting style,” says Center director, Sonia Outlaw-Clark, “but there is so much more to this man. I’m thankful to everyone who was willing to share their paintings and allow us to showcase some of his best works. And a special thanks to another Brownsville native and artist, Tom Veirs, for curating the exhibit.”

Dickinson was born in Brownsville in 1921. After graduating Haywood County High School, he enrolled as an art major at Maryville College, Maryville Tenn. His interests not only included painting, but all forms of the arts. He wrote school plays and was known for his poetry; even getting published in the Knoxville Journal. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, he postponed his 1942 graduation in order to join the Marines.

After his time in the Marines, Dickinson studied portrait painting at the Memphis Academy of the Arts and University of Iowa. He also studied in New York City at the Art Student League and worked in restoration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He returned to Brownsville in 1949 and his home studio on Lafayette St., where his works consisted mostly of portraits of the local citizens, still life and landscapes. Many of these portraits are featured in the exhibit along with a 1960 painting of General James Winchester, a commissioned copy for hanging in Winchester’s home, Cragfont, in Castalian Springs, Tenn. Dickinson worked mainly with oils and also experimented with pastels, charcoal and watercolors.

By 1954, he was maintaining a studio in New Orleans and dividing his time between there and Brownsville. His realistic style of painting was not his only means of expressing himself. Influenced by the abstract expressionism movement of the 1940s, Dickinson exhibited abstract works alongside his portraits and realism pieces with shows throughout the South and New York. After the death of his mother, Dickinson returned to Brownsville where he remained until his death in 1985.

The public is invited to attend the exhibition opening at 4 pm, Thursday, June 29, at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. Special guests will talk about Dickinson’s impact on the art world and some of this most notable pieces, as well as heartwarming stories from some who knew him personally.

Reflections of Home: The Art of Joseph Dickinson is a free exhibition and can be seen through August 30, 2023 in the Center lobby. The exhibit is available to visitors Monday – Saturday, 9-5 and Sundays 1-5. For more information contact the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000 or [email protected].


About the Center: The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, in Brownsville, is a music heritage destination that offers a refreshing Southern experience showcasing the history and culture of rural West Tennessee. Inside visitors can learn about the history of cotton, explore the scenic and “wild” Hatchie River and get to know the legendary musicians who call West Tennessee home. Also located on the grounds is the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner, and the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes. The Delta Heritage Center is also a featured stop along the Americana Music Triangle connecting Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans and an official Tennessee Music Pathways location. To learn more about the Center, visit or call 731-779-9000.