Edith Baker, Founder of Dallas Art Dealers Association Dies at 97

Edith Baker

Edith Baker, a very respectful name in the Dallas art community, has died of natural causes in the early hours of Sunday morning. She was born in Bulgaria but relocated to Dallas in 1951 owing to her passion for art. 

During her time in Bulgaria, she stayed as a refugee in the mountains with family during the Second World War. After marrying an American husband, she moved to Chicago in 1949, followed by Dallas in 1951. 

She took art classes from popular painter Otis Dozier and sculptor Octavio Medellin at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts after moving to the city. She had a keen interest in modern arts from the start that led her to create the Dallas Art Dealers Association (DADA) in 1985.

It began with 12 member galleries that later expanded to lots of new locations, including not-for-profit art galleries. It was followed by creation of the Edith Baker Art Scholarship Fund by Baker’s family in honor of the 20th anniversary of DADA in 2005. 

This organization’s main motive was to help the senior students get enrolled at the Booker T. Washington High School. According to Kenneth Craighead, owner of Craighead Green Gallery, “Baker was my best friend and always treated me like a family.” He further added that it is hard to forget her work for the Dallas art community.

Baker has helped hundreds of artists in brushing up skills and enlighten their passion for visual arts. A fellow DADA member Talley Dunn states that “ Her passion and enthusiasm is hard to match even for youngsters nowadays.” Baker believed in the power of art that she transformed for revolutionizing the Dallas arts community. 

She opened the Collector’s Choice Gallery in a partnership in 1978 but became its sole owner in 1981 and changed its name to Edith Baker Gallery that stayed operational until the early 2000s. Her other notable work is creating the Emergency Artists Support League (EASL) in 1992 with her friend Patricia Meadows whose motive was to offer financial help for artists. It is still operational, and if anyone wishes to contribute in her name, Baker’s family has appealed to people to donate EASL. 

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