|Dixie Dugan [b. 1928, Parsons, KS] grew up in Chicago, IL, where she met her husband, Tommy. The couple lived in Texas and Louisiana before settling with their two daughters in Myrtle Beach, SC, in 1966.
Dugan, who was born with a natural talent and affinity for painting, started taking drawing classes in 1972 instructed by local artist, Alex Powers, whose teaching had a profound influence on her. Powers introduced Dugan to watercolors in 1973. Finding watercolor to be an unforgiving medium that demands one’s complete attention, she continued to study under Power’s tutelage for five to six years.
In 1978, Dugan began attending classes at Coastal Carolina University, studying printmaking and pottery with Martha Thomas. She then entered the University of South Carolina as a freshman at 50 years old, something she had never dreamed of doing. She took classes from renowned South Carolina artists Boy Saunders, Philip Mullen and Gunard Strazden.
Returning home from college in 1980, Dugan hit the ground running with all of her new knowledge. She continued with watercolor, which was her favorite medium for years, as well as drawing, of which she never tires. Dugan began teaching watercolor and drawing classes in 1990 and joined a group of artists in ownership of a gallery in Murrells Inlet, SC, called Art Plus. Shortly thereafter, she and fellow artist Sudie Daves joined a Charleston co-op gallery and worked hard to produce more art than they ever thought possible. Thus, Dugan was introduced to a new subject, Charleston, SC, and its rich culture. She went on to participate in Charleston’s annual Piccolo Spoleto Festival Outdoor Art Exhibition for 18 years.
In 1992, Dugan was involved in a car accident. While recovering in the hospital, Dugan thought about Henri Matisse and the paper cut-outs he created while bed-ridden. Dugan asked her nurses to please bring her some magazines, glue and cardboard and began making pictures pieced together with torn and cut-out magazine clippings. And so began Dugan’s new venture in art, her “paper paintings.” When asked why she refers to them as “paintings” – as no paint is applied on them – Dugan, replies, “I just use glue and paper instead of oil or acrylic paint. They’re still paintings.” Dugan now uses rice and origami paper in lieu of magazine paper.
In 2011, 15 of Dugan’s works were included in a three-artist show in downtown Manhattan, a dream come true. In 2014, the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum of Myrtle Beach featured Dugan’s work in a retrospective exhibition spanning from her earliest tempera painting completed at age six to her more recent watercolors and paper paintings.
© 2016 Franklin G. Burroughs • Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum
Myrtle Beach’s Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum strives to be one of the finest visual arts museums in the Carolinas. With 11 galleries that change throughout the year, Myrtle Beach’s only art museum offers exhibitions featuring paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, collage and more. A visit to the Art Museum’s exhibitions can be enhanced by its lively programming, including artist receptions, tours, lectures, workshops and classes for both adults and children.