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Thu, 03.31.1921

Reginald Gammon, Artist, and Printmaker born

Reginald Gammon

*Reginald Gammon was born on this date in 1921. He was a Black artist, printmaker, and art educator born in Philadelphia, Pa.

He graduated high school in 1941 and received a scholarship to the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Arts (now known as the University of the Arts). After taking a job at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard refurbishing battleships, Gammon lost his scholarship, forcing him to work full-time and study art at night. Gammon was drafted and joined the Navy in 1944, serving in an all-black unit in Guam until 1946. In 1948, Gammon moved to New York City, and in 1963 joined Spiral, a collective of such artists as Romare Bearden, Richard Mayhew, and Hale Woodruff.

When Spiral disbanded, Gammon and artist Benny Andrews formed the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition to protest the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art’s exclusion of African American artists and curators.  While in New York, Gammon began teaching art in the New York City public school system and hosting Saturday studios for the students with resident artists from the area. This teaching experience prompted friend and artist Hughie Lee-Smith to recommend him for a lectureship at Western Michigan University, an opportunity that led to a 21-year career at the University.

Gammon retired in 1991 as Full Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts and Humanities. After retiring, Gammon moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. There he joined the New Mexico Afro-American Artist Guild and the Albuquerque United Artists. In 1996, he became one of the founding members of the New Grounds Print Workshop & Gallery. There he developed a collection of over 100 prints of influential jazz musicians and gospel singers that would remain his last body of work. His work can be found in numerous private collections and in the collections of the Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, Hampton University Museum, Hampton, VA, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY, and the Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia, PA, among many others. Reginald Gammon died on November 4, 2005.

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