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Shirley Mason, Painter

Shirley Mason Shirley Ardell Mason lived the last two decades of her life quietly in Lexington, KY. But after she died in 1998, it became widely known that she had been the basis for the best-selling book (and TV movie) Sybil, which detailed a young woman’s battle with multiple personality disorder.

While living in Lexington, Shirley was a commercial artist, painting and running a successful art business out of her home on Henry Clay Boulevard. It wasn’t until after her death that a cache of paintings from the period when she was undergoing intensive psychiatric treatment was discovered in a basement closet of her house. The artwork discovered included nearly 100 paintings believed to have been created by her other personalities, though only one is signed as such. The artwork chronicles the journey of her years in therapy.

Shirley Mason’s paintings are housed at the White House Gallery in Lexington.

Program 535

Late Lexington artist Shirley Mason, subject of the best-selling book Sybil; sculptor John Henry, recipient of a 2002 Governor’s Award in the Arts; and the music of Wayne Young and band. (#535)

Program 803

Lexington painter Shirley Ardell Mason, music by the Betweeners and AM Sunday, and a look at the work of self-trained painter and fiber artist Mary Craik (#803)


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