Community remembers art professor in memorial service

Freinds and family gather in Kent State art gallery to commemerate the life of Craig Lucas, a professor of the arts, Sunday. Lucas taught at Kent State for more than 30 years.. Photos by Megann Galehouse.

Kelly Tunney

Family, friends, colleagues and students gathered to honor Craig Lucas, Kent State art professor and award-winning artist, at a memorial service Sunday afternoon.

At the service held in the School of Art Gallery, those who knew Lucas gave testimonies of how he impacted their lives. They expressed sorrow at the loss of a powerful influence in Ohio’s art community and celebrated his life.

“The world has gone to hell in a hand basket, and this one is just too much,” said a friend of Lucas during the service.

Lucas, 69, was fondly known as “Pirate” to his friends. He died in his sleep on April 1. Those who knew him said that although he could be a harsh art critic, he could always find something good in everyone’s work.

A colleague of Lucas’ shared “Craig’s lists for artists” — a list of advice that Lucas would have supported. He encouraged the audience to read everything.

“Put smart ideas into your head,” he said.

He also told aspiring artists to value themselves and their work and to be generous when necessary.

Timothy Chandler, senior associate provost, said that although he and Lucas did not always see eye to eye, he was a valuable member of Kent’s faculty.

“He was the most loyal member of the loyal opposition,” Chandler said.

Other speakers varied from community members to childhood friends. Many shared personal experiences with Lucas and stories that explained his character.

A friend of Lucas said she thought holding the service in the Art Building was an appropriate way to honor his life.

“I think it’s wonderful to have a gathering in the building that he did so much work in,” she said. “He inspired so many students. He was just a good man and a good friend.”

Contact Kelly Tunney at [email protected].