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Naoma Powell, 87, Aug. 12, 1925 — July 20, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013 | 8:09 p.m. CDT; updated 8:36 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Naoma Powell, 87, of Columbia passed away Saturday, July 20, 2013.

A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 3:00 pm on Sunday, July 28.

Naoma was born on August 12, 1925 in Columbia, Missouri to the late Dwight and Vera Powell.

She was a graduate of Hickman High School and received undergraduate and graduate degrees in education and art from the University of Missouri, and earned an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She also participated in a yearlong special studies program in Denmark.

Naoma was an accomplished artist who dedicated her life to awakening the creative potential of others. She was firmly focused on serving people through art education without regard to ability level or economic status. She spent nearly 20 years in rural Kentucky where she brought art education to children in one room school houses, and marketable art skills to adults so that they could earn enough money to support their families. In 1979, she returned to Columbia and became the co-founder and Director of Access Arts. She nurtured the school’s growth from 28 students in the basement of her home to more than 2000 students with classrooms and studios in three buildings. She worked without pay and contributed her home and most of her social security income to the program.

Survivors include her brother Charles “Chick” Powell, his wife Robilee, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and close friends.

Naoma was preceded in death by her brother Harvey Glenn Powell, her sister Irma Roney and her brother-in-law Charles Roney.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Access Arts or the Unitarian Universalist Church.


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