Stone, Softened

The artist and her work. | Photo by Aline Frisch

Jeanne Kidd uses sculptures to tell stories, convey emotions

Jeanne Kidd’s artistic heritage lies in Italy, where her grandfather, a marble carver, lived before coming to New York, and where her favorite artistic medium, Carrara marble, is found. She calls Israel her “soul’s home.” She spent time there as a teenager and fell in love with the country, and when she returned in her 50s, she found a home for her sculptures, duplicated in bronze.

Kidd’s actual home is here in Knoxville, where she carves marble and alabaster into fluid pieces she describes this way: “It reminds you of something but it’s not of anything.” She strives to make stone appear soft. She wants to see the play of light and shadow along its curves. She tells a story or explores an emotion with each creation.

Kidd’s career in art got a late start. Though she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Tennessee, she earned a living styling hair and giving massages, then working with her husband, Will Kidd, running Seven Seas Estate Sales here. It wasn’t until she had a health scare about seven years ago that she realized it was time to return to stone. “I told my husband we’ve got to rearrange our lives. If I have five years to live, I have to carve.”

Health scare averted, she got serious about art. Her sculptures are exhibited at Pivot Point Fine Art Gallery in Knoxville, at galleries in Florida, and, reimagined as larger pieces in bronze, in outdoor exhibits in Jerusalem. Recently, her six-foot-tall bronze Healing Heart Sculpture was approved to be placed at the main entrance to Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer in Israel.

Kidd is currently writing a memoir and completing four marble sculptures in her home studio. She’s beginning a “flower series,” she says, and has a vision for creating healing garden spaces with large permanent installations similar to those she has established in Israel.

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