UM to break ground on $6 million gallery in Adelphi to house works of Maryland-born sculptor Sheppard

November 27, 2008|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,ed.gunts@baltsun.com

Maryland-born artist Joseph Sheppard will soon have a permanent gallery in the state devoted to his paintings and sculptures.

The University of Maryland University College has set Dec. 2 as the groundbreaking date for the Leroy Merritt Center for the Art of Joseph Sheppard, a $6 million, 5,500-square-foot gallery that is being added to the university's Inn and Conference Center in Adelphi.

"This beautiful addition to our existing galleries will stand as an enduring tribute to Sheppard, a vibrant center for lifelong learning and a unique focal point for our acclaimed arts collection," said UMUC President Susan Aldridge.

Sheppard said he is delighted to know his works will have a permanent home on a University of Maryland campus, accessible to art students and others. "It's a great honor."

Designed by Baltimore architect James R. Grieves, the center was fully funded by private donations from Baltimore real estate developer Leroy Merritt and other friends and supporters of Maryland art and UMUC's arts program.

When complete in September 2009, the center at 3501 University Blvd. East will contain a gallery and indoor sculpture garden opening onto a large reception area. The gallery will display Sheppard's paintings, on loan and in rotating exhibits, the first of which will include some pieces from two previous exhibits: "Fifty Years of Art" and "Beast of Burden." The sculpture garden will feature more than 20 of Sheppard's bronze and marble sculptures, which have been donated to the center.

Born in 1930 in Owings Mills, Sheppard divides his time between Baltimore and Pietrasanta, Italy. He is the sculptor of the Pope John Paul II statue at Charles and Franklin streets in Baltimore, the Holocaust Memorial at Gay and Lombard streets, and many other works in the United States and abroad. In September, he received an international sculpture award from an Italian society that recognizes sculptors who have made "extraordinary contributions to the art world."

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