Born and raised in Chicago, Mervyn W. Adams Seldon embarked on her career as an artist after a robust career in various industries. Before pursuing her career, she majored in French literature and art history at Smith College and its study abroad program in Paris, France. She continues those studies from 1950 to 1951 as a graduate student at the University of Chicago and for several months in Paris before moving to New York City in 1953, where she worked as a secretary to the director of the Congregational Christian Service Committee in its efforts on behalf of World War II refugees. In the summer of 1954, she led a group of American high school students on an Experiment in International Living program, where they spent one month, each living with an individual family in Brussels, Belgium, followed by a bicycle trip with a Brussels family member through Normandy and Brittany in France, and one week in Paris.
After returning to New York City, Ms. Seldon served as research assistant for the Council on Religion and International Affairs (now the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs). There, she assisted in organizing a major study project on the implications of the ethics of five major religions for international relations. Her interest in this project led her to Columbia University, where, while continuing to work half time, she pursued an MA in political science and the Certificate (China) of Columbia’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute, both awarded to her in 1964, while then working half time as executive secretary and editor for the Conference Group of U.S. National Organizations on the United Nations with the United Nations Foundation. She returned to the Weatherhead East Asian Institute from 1964 to 1968 to serve as an administrative
assistant. She then ventured into book publishing, and from 1968 to 1973, she served as an editor at Praeger Publications of ABC-CUO LLC in New York. After marrying and moving to California in 1973, she continued as a consulting editor with Praeger, and from 1975 to 1981, with Dawson Publishing in England, often on joint projects. From 1978 to 1982, she also served as a managing editor of Studies in Comparative Communism at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Switching gears once again, Ms. Seldon pursued educational fundraising from 1981 to 1985, serving as a program officer of the W.M. Keck Foundation in Los Angeles and then, from 1986 to 1990, as the director of development at Performing Tree, a nonprofit arts-in-education program in Los Angeles.
Ms. Seldon began exhibiting her work as an artist in 1993 while pursuing her MFA in drawing and painting at California State University, Fullerton (awarded to her in 1998), and joined Gallery 57 that year. It was first located in Fullerton, CA. She became its treasurer when it moved to Pomona, CA, in 1998 and changed its name to Gallery 57 Underground, serving a two-year term later as its director and returning as treasurer until 2019. As an artist, she has exhibited at numerous galleries throughout California and across the country. Her work mainly features landscape paintings, still lifes, abstract paintings with an emphasis on color design, light and texture, portraits, and interiors. In her spare time after work, Ms. Seldon has enjoyed camping, playing tennis, skiing, traveling abroad, watching movies and theatre performances, hearing concerts of classical music, and reading.
Contact Ms. Seldon: