Wuanita Smith was born and remained based in Philadelphia, and began her art training in 1884 at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. She also studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Art Students League in New York, and in Paris with printmaker Allen Lewis.
A student of Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute, Smith was also a printmaker active in Wilmington, Delaware, at the Rehoboth Beach art Colony, and in Philadelphia. She was widely traveled and active professionally into her nineties.
Early in her career, she was a successful children's book illustrator including for "The Little Runaways at Home," 1922. She was a founding member with Mary Mullineux of the American Color Print Color Print Society, and often exhibited with her in two-women exhibitions.
She was also part of the Provincetown, Massachusetts group that developed the white line color block print method during World War I, and exhibited there in the 1920s and 1930s. She had a studio on Nantucket, and was a regular exhibitor at the summer art colony in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, as well as the Pennsylvania Academy, the Plastic Club, and the Woodmere Art Museum. For many years, she also had living quarters in Philadelphia at the Clinton Hotel.
She traveled extensively in France, Alaska, and Mexico.
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