Born Meta Vaux Warrick to a comfortable, middle-class Philadelphia family who trained Meta in art, music, dance, and horseback riding, her career as an artist began after one of her high school projects was chosen to be included in the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Based upon this work, she won a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Museum & School of Industrial Art (PMSIA), now The University of the Arts College of Art and Design, in 1894. In 1898, she received her diploma and teacher's certificate. Upon graduation in 1899, she traveled to Paris, where she studied at the Académie Colarossi (sculpture) and École des Beaux-Arts (drawing) and became a protégé of Auguste Rodin. By the end of her career in Paris, Ms. Warrick had her works exhibited in many galleries including Siegfried Bing's Salon de l'Art Nouveau (Maison de l'Art Nouveau).
Returning to Philadelphia in 1902, she was shunned by members of the Philadelphia art scene because of the prevailing racial beliefs of the time. However this treatment did not prevent Fuller from becoming the first African-American woman to receive a U.S. government commission when she was commissioned to create several dioramas depicting African-American historical events for the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition in 1907.
Winning numerous awards for her work over her lifetime, she continued to exhibit her work until her last show at Howard University (Washington, D.C.) in 1961.
The time is near (reluctance laid aside) I see the barque afloat upon the ebbing tide While on the shores my friends and loved ones stand. I wave to them a cheerful parting hand, Then take my place with Charon at the helm, And turn and wave again to them. Oh, may the voyage not be arduous nor long, But echoing with chant and joyful song, May I behold with reverence and grace, The wondrous vision of the Master's face.
- excerpted from Now Is Your Time! the African-American struggle for freedom, Walter Dean Myers 1991