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Claude Clark



Born on 15 November 1915 in Rockingham, Georgia, Claude Clark was raised in a large family. As a child, his African-American parents struggled to support their 10 children on their farm and in 1923 they moved to a suburb of Philadelphia. It was here that Clark received his primary and high school education in a neighborhood composed primarily of European immigrants. A shy boy, especially as a member of the minority in a controversial time for African-Americans, Clark’s mother encouraged him to write and recite poems and ditties to overcome his shyness. He also began exploring his personal interest in the visual arts, and it was his junior high school art teacher who mentoring his blossoming artistic talent. Combined with the support and encouragement he received at Sunday School and from the pastor, this mentoring pushed Clark toward the life of a prolific artist. This path was not without obstacles, however: in high school his art instructor refused to recommend him for a scholarship to an art school, despite the support of his peers and his evident talent.

Clark decided that one person could not get in the way of his dream and he went over the teacher’s head to the school principal who happily helped him earn a scholarship to The Pennsylvania School of Industrial Arts. Clark studied there from 1935 to 1939. Upon graduating, he began working in the governmental Works Progress Administration in the graphic arts division. After hours, Clark painted in a studio he shared with renowned artist Raymond Steth. Raising himself from his poor background, he became a nationally-acclaimed painter. Claude Clark passed away on 21 April 2001, but he leaves his work behind as a reminder of what dedicated, passion, and insight can produce.
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