Coppin State University Celebrates Luke Shaw

Published Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Coppin State University’s Department of Visual and Performance Arts will celebrate the legacy of Mr. Luke Shaw, former Coppin State University professor, scholar, artist and founding member of the university’s department of Visual and Performing Arts.

On Sunday, February 24, 2013, Coppin State University’s Department of Visual and Performance Arts will celebrate the legacy of Mr. Luke Shaw, former Coppin State University professor, scholar, artist and founding member of the university’s department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Shaw, who left an indelible footprint on the City of Baltimore and the Coppin community, will be honored in an intimate exhibition that will showcase his innovative paintings and feature work of Ernest Shaw, instructor and cousin of Shaw. The opening reception and gallery talk will be held in the Cary Beth Cryor Gallery in the James Weldon Johnson Auditorium from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. The exhibit will be open from February 12, through April 26, 2013.

In an interview with Stephanie Shapiro of The Baltimore Sun, Shaw spoke about one of his more public pieces of work - a mural, 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide, in Armistead Gardens Elementary School. The mural features in its first three sections Col. George Armistead, commander of Fort McHenry during its 1814 bombardment, the enterprising Erdman brothers, who built a road in their name to link their farms on Harford and Belair roads, and the Glenn L. Martin State Airport, where Armistead Gardens residents toiled during World War II. The fourth section reflects the multi-racial student body at Armistead Gardens, a school that integrates handicapped children from throughout the city into its student population, reported Shapiro.

"What most people would see as weeds, he saw some beauty in those weeds, in [their] color, life, diversity, and it was a very lovely painting,” stated Joseph Wilson, former principal of Armistead Gardens Elementary School, about selecting Shaw to sculpt the glass mural. “What really caught me, he could see beauty anywhere. Sometimes, people in general in society, don't see them as having beauty. This was a man that would be able to see the beauty that was there in the children and in the school.”

Professor Day Clark, coordinator of Coppin’s Visual Arts Program, says that this exhibit provides an opportunity to explore the legacy of Dr. Luke Shaw, Coppin’s first Art Department chairman. 

“Dr. Shaw established our art curriculum and served Coppin from 1967 until his death in 1997.  We celebrate this opportunity to honor him.”