Possum and Babies
Minnie Adkins (1934- ) was born in Isonville, Ky. Her husband Garland died at home in Isonville on November 6, 1997. They spent many years working in Ohio and returned to Minnie's homeplace, which she renamed "Peaceful Valley," in the 1980s. When she and Garland were hit hard by the loss of coal mining jobs and decreasing demand for local agriculture, she picked up a knife and started carving. Her work reflects her love of the land and the community where she lives. Although the Adkinses co-signed everything they made, they usually worked separately. Minnie is best known for her carved and painted red foxes, but she also makes bears, possums, tigers and other animals. Garland was best known for his elegant horses that were either painted black or left unpainted, depending on the look of the wood. In 2000, Minnie married Herman Peters, a retired pipe-fitter, who is now working with Minnie to create her signiture animals in steel. She continues to work in wood as well. Minnie was the 1992 recipient of the inaugural Jane Morton Norton Award given by the Norton Center for the Arts for achievement in advancing the arts in Kentucky. She also received the Award of Distinction from the Folk Art Society of America in 1993 and the Appalachian Treasure Award in 1994. In 1998, she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Morehead State University. The Adkinses' work has been featured in many museum and gallery exhibitions. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Ky.; the Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University; the Huntington Museum of Art, W.V.; and the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles. Their work is also in the collections of Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Streisand.