In Memorian: Gilda Snowden


Gilda with her work. Image from her Facebook page

Gilda Snowden, the art doyenne of Detroit—painter, teacher, blogger, curator, mentor, friend, political activist, and enormous Facebook presence—has died at the age of 60. Using the floor as her easel, she made large, expressive and chromatically ebullient paintings, many in encaustic, a medium she had used for over two decades. The encaustic connection, coupled with her enormous achievements, led her to our ProWax group. “She just connected with people in a great way; she was an amazing powerhouse of a woman with wonderful warmth. It’s a huge loss,” says ProWax member Leslie Sobel.

Even those of us who knew her just through cyberspace are reeling. Twice we almost had her for the Encaustic Conference as a Saturday Morning Panelist. Family obligations intervened for Conference 7. Bad knees kept her from Conference 8. “Third time’s the charm,” she said in a phone conversation recently. If only.

You can read obituaries from the Detroit News and Metro Times, or visit her Facebook page, which is filled with loving tributes and memorials.
— J.M.

Metro Times Obit link:

Detroit News:

Facebook page:


Gilda Snowden, Monument, 1988, encaustic on wood with objects, collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Image from her Facebook page


One thought on “In Memorian: Gilda Snowden

  1. Damarcus Holbrook says:

    Hello my name is Damarcus Holbrook,

    I don’t know who this will go to, but I hope it reaches the right person, or persons. Today is April-25-2016 and by chance, I just heard that a powerful and a long time mentor of mine Gilda Snowden has died. She showed me so many great art techniques at C.C.S that has served me well in my 16 years in the Film and Game industry. I’ll never forget when I started this really ambitious projected to get done by the end of a short final semester. It was to build a 7 foot ninja out of wire!!! At some point half way thru building it, I started to lose my way and feel that I was not going to finish the job. Gilda looked at me and smiled, and said that ninja is not going to build its self, It’s an idea that unless you finish it, it will just stay an idea, In other words, if I want others to see it too, I better get it done. Those wards play back in my head every time I’m faced with a big challenge. It’s not going to build itself.

    Thank you Gilda, I miss you

    Damarcus Holbrook

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