Evelyn Raymond was born in Duluth in 1908. Her love of sculpting began while she was a student at Duluth Central High School. “You could go down by the lake and crawl around the big, craggy rocks,” she recalled. “It’s more sculptural where I come from than if you were in a prairie area.”
Raymond won a scholarship to the Minneapolis School of Art in 1928. When her mentor at the school lost his position, Evelyn joined him, another teacher, and two dozen fellow students to form the Minneapolis Art Students Forum. The group favored abstraction, which wasn’t taught at the MSA of the time; they opened their own small school downtown.
Her mother became ill in 1930, and Raymond returned to her family’s huge dairy farm near Duluth. She rose at 5:00 AM every morning to prepare meals for the workers who were milking 160 cows, washed dishes for three hours a day, and took care of her mother until she died eight years later.
In 1938, Raymond was accepted in the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project with a sculpture she called ERG (“a unit of power”). From 1939 to 1951, she taught at Walker Art Center and headed the Sculpture Department. Her tall, bronze statue of pioneer educator Maria L. Sanford was installed in the United States Capitol in 1958.
She said, “Color has never been one of the important things in my life. I like texture. I like the natural quality of wood and stone . . .” Raymond continued to teach in her own studio until she died in 1998.