Normah Alcott Knight
- Normah Alcott, age 94, went to be with her Lord on June 29th, 2005 in
the Golden Palms Retirement Center, where she resided for the past ten
She was born on July 25, 1910 to Edward Elbert and Floy
Hamilton Alcott in Dallas. She was preceded in death by her parents, her
husband of fifty-eight years, Bob Moore Knight Sr., and grandson, Lyn
In 1931 Bob and Normah, her parents, her brother, Ed
Alcott, and sister-in-law, Mary moved to Harlingen, Texas. In those
early years, the buildings were sparse and few streets were paved. Bob
and Ed started the family enterprises in the mid 1930's when they bought
the R.C. Cola Bottling Company. Now, through the third generation the
Knight/Alcott family has continually worked together to help develop
Harlingen through Redelco, Inc.
Normah's formative years in Dallas
were during the horse and buggy days. Her dad owned a general mercantile
store, and the first car in their Highland Park neighborhood. She loved
to tell about its wooden wheels that had to be watered before driving.
art talent was evident early in life. She won her first contest in 1919
when she was nine years old. She sold her first painting in 1924 when
she was fourteen. Normah became a lovely and gracious young lady. During
her college years, she was in the top ten Southern Methodist University
Since then, Normah became a renown professional artist.
Her educational background consists of S.M.U., Dallas Art Institute,
Federal School, Inc., Minn, MN, Julian Academy in Paris, France, and The
Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore, MD. Her credits include:
Charter member of Artist and Craftsmen Associated in Dallas, and twenty
years member of the American Artists Professional League of New York.
She was listed in Who's Who in American Women, 1956-1959, Who's Who in
American Art, 1959, Who's Who of American Women, 21st, edition,
1999-2000, Texas Women of Distinction, The Dictionary of International
Biographies, 1963, International Directory of Arts, 1969, 1970, and
Distinguished Personalities of the South, 1973.
Texas art Association
sponsored a two-artists show in the Elizabeth Ney Museum in Austin.
Normah was one of the featured artists, Nov. 1941. And, Art U.S.A.
sponsored an international touring exhibit that included her work to
represent American Art at Madison Square Garden, New York City, January
1958. The exhibit later went to the World's Fair in Brussels.
Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
displayed her painting in their National Collection of Fine Arts Special
Exhibit of Contemporary American Paintings, November 1963. And her
paintings were chosen to represent the Rio Grande Valley Art League in
an exhibit at the Lynn Kottler Gallery in New York, 1966. The National
Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington D.C., accepted Mrs. Knight's
portfolio for reiew by the Board of directors in April, 2005. Their
letter of assessment concerning both the scope and quality of her work
was found to be ``very impressive.''
Normah and Mrs. Ben Sanders organized the Rio Grande Valley Art League in 1932. Ten leagues branched from the original league.
and Mrs. John Connally invited Normah to take part in the Governor's
Conference on the Arts to establish the Texas Fine Arts Commission
(1968). She was officially appointed to head the development of art in
the Rio Grande Valley. For ten years, as head of the Cultural Arts
Program for the State of Texas in The Rio Grande Valley, she promoted
art and art shows.
Normah and her sister-in-law, Mary Alcott, owned
the first art gallery/school in the R.G. Valley. They operated it for
After numerous accomplishments, Normah received many
special honors. A tribute by The Senate of The State of Texas
Proclamation No. 1457 reads, ``The Texas Senate is pleased to recognize
Mrs. Normah Knight for her significant contributions to the cultural
landscape of Texas...the Senate of the State of Texas hereby honors,
Normah Knight for her many noteworthy accomplishment...''signed the
Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. and other senators.
Harlingen, presented Normah with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship
Foundation Award and Medal for her years of dedication to the
development of art in the Rio Grande Valley. Neal Murphy and Mira Young
Murphy made the formal presentation.
The City of Harlingen honored
Normah with a Reception and a Proclamation that read in closing, ``I,
Connie de la Garza, Mayor of the City of Halringen, do hereby proclaim,
`February 10th as Normah Knigh Day.'''
Stories and articles have been
written about her in books, magazines and newspapers, including
historical books of the Rio Grande Valley: Roots by the River, and One
Hundred Women of the Rio Grande. Illustrator Magazine, 1958, featured
her painting on its cover with eight paintings inside. ``Texas Farming
and Agricultural Magazine'', August 1961, had her painting on its cover.
Illustrator Magazine, June 1965, worte `The Normah Knight Success
Story'', with a cover painting. The Kerrville Daily Times, Nov. 30,
1980, featured Normah on the front page with a caption- ``A Portrait of a
Painter.'' It carried a major article with pictures. The Chamber of
Commerce magazine of Harlingen, ``Images'', wrote about her murals in
``History in Living Color'', 2003. She also had interviews on radio and
Normah painted on site and studied God's incredible
nature in detail. She often said, ``I have never seen an artist who was
an atheist.'' She wrote, ``I came into this world by the grace of God.
At fourteen, I knew he meant for me to be an artist. I looked over the
heaven and the earth and the sea. I scanned the sun and the rest of our
well ordered creation. I marveled at the beauty of it all. I realized
that the world and all things in it moved and lived by the power of the
sun. At this point, I decided to try and paint sunlight into my
pictures. I try to remember that God made it all and no one on earth can
really paint such beauty.''
Her florals, landscapes and seascapes
are hanging in numerous homes and buildings over the United States. They
are also in South America, Holland, Germany, France, Belgium, Canada
and Mexico. Many are in the Washington D.C. area, with one in the
Veterans Administration Building. In New York, Nichol, Inc. started
their fine collection of Wild Turkey paintings by purchasing Normah's
``TEXAS WILD TURKEY''.
In 1948 Normah was commissioned to paint a
mural depicting the story of bread - from the fields to the bakery. The
4' x 48' mural was mounted on the circular lobby wall of the new Holsom
Bread Bakery in Harlingen. It is now displayed at Downtown Antiques, 218
W. Jackson. Normah's largest mural is 360 sq. ft. and weights 300 lbs.
It portrays The Historic and Cultural Development of the Rio Grande
Valley. She painted it in 1951 and restored it in 1994.
it is in the historic downtown Harlingen Hibernia National Bank lobby,
attched to a wall 9' x 38' long. And, her mural, ``The History of the
Soft Drink Industry'' (6'x8') was unveiled at the Grand Opening of Royal
Crown Cola's new building, October 1955.
Normah's faith held true in
her life. She was a faithful member of the Rio Hondu Baptist Church and
especially loved her Sunday School Class.
She cared about others.
While excelling as an artist, she brought aspiring artists with her. For
seventy years, she taught many hundreds of students, and some became
professional artists. A former student recently said, ``She was like a
mother to me.''
With all of her accolades, Normah remained a lovely
gracious lady. To her family, she was just ``Mom'' and ``Nonnie''. We
remembered when she received notice of another Who's Who listing she
simply said, ``I still have to wash the dishes.''
She is survived by her son, Bob M. Knight Jr.
Published in Valley Morning Star on June 30, 2005