Patricia Buckley was born on May 20th, 1933, in the Richmond Borough of New York City. She was the second of three children of an Irish/American-Sicilian marriage. In grade school, young Patricia was perceived as a poor student, a circumstance probably attributable to dyslexia which is a generally misunderstood reading and perceptional "disorder." Nonetheless, one of her teachers determined that this little girl, who was "Not Proficient in Anything," was artistically gifted. This outside opinion helped to convince Pat's mother to enroll her daughter in an extraordinary public school for girls in downtown Manhattan: the Washington Irving High School for the Fine Arts. It was there, in what obviously was a friendly learning environment, that Pat's artistic abilities were finally encouraged and seriously nourished.
In 1951 Pat received a scholarship to New York's Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She studied at this prestigious art school for four years and specialized in fine arts and graphic design. Soon after leaving school she married Jack Moss, a chemical engineer.
In 1964 Pat's husband's work took his family-by then five children with a sixth child on-the way-to Waynesboro in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It was here that she came to appreciate the quiet beauty of rural scenery and to know the picturesque and deeply religious Amish and Mennonite "plain" people. Soon she was incorporating these new elements into her art, creating an impetus that revitalized her artistic career and reignited her ambitions.
In 1967 she won her first major art show prize, a one-person museum exhibition. This exhibition was a sell-out and the success encouraged her to start seriously marketing her work. The uniqueness of her style and the warmth generated by her subject matter quickly won her widespread recognition.
In 1979, after twenty-three years of marriage Pat and Jack separated. This was a very difficult period for the artist. Three years later she married her business manager, Malcolm Henderson, an Englishman. Together, they have built up Moss Galleries, Ltd., a family company that markets and sells her limited edition reproduction prints through some 470 Moss dealers nationwide.
Today, thousands of collectors in the United States, Europe and Japan have come to recognize, appreciate and treasure Pat Moss' art with its distinctive look and its great popular appeal. Although she now enjoys tremendous artistic success, Pat Moss has become almost equally known for her dedicated work with special education groups and her generous donations to children-related charities.
Pat Moss has become a role model to the learning impaired and frequently is asked to speak to special education classes. Donations of Moss' original works and prints to related children's charities have raised millions of dollars for their causes. In 1986, the P. Buckley Moss Society was established by a few zealous collectors to assist the artist and her husband in all of their charitable endeavors. This Society now has come sixty chapters and membership of approximately 20,000 members. P. Buckley Moss is both the Society's inspiration and its "battle cry" as it spreads the artist's messages of concern and optimism for what otherwise be forgotten and misunderstood children and adults.
In 1989, the P. Buckley Moss Museum opened in Waynesboro, Virginia. Its stated purpose is to permanently record and illuminate the Moss phenomenon through educational exhibitions, lectures, permanent collections and archival files. Today the Museum attracts approximately 45,000 visitors per year. It has become a place for people to "rediscover" some of the traditional meanings and potential consequences of art. Pat Moss' story is told and illustrated over and over in the Museum's main gallery as visitors are exposed to some of the best examples of her artistic creativity.
Pat Moss, in her art and in her life, seems to "speak" a language that ordinary folks are able to understand. Talent, determination, intelligibility, a little luck and lots of caring are all parts of the Moss phenomenon. These are the attributes that constitute Moss' life and fill her art. For many who know her work and are familiar with her life and her upbeat philosophy, she truly is "THE PEOPLE'S ARTIST"
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