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Claude Clark's Early Promotion Strategies

by Claude Lockhart Clark
Artist's Son

Claude Clark developed an interest in presenting his own story before the public very early in his art career. He managed to be in the right place at the right time for news coverage. An older brother and a younger brother were photographers. During the war years and throughout the rest of the 1940’s Clark could depend on two brothers and later that same decade, the Harmon Foundation to take pictures of himself and his paintings for public relations purposes. PRESS THIS BUTTON TO RETURN TO THE PREVIOUS PAGE

Clark bought a used car but never learned to drive it. During the 1940’s Clark’s brothers used his car and drove Clark and the paintings to other states and cities for exhibitions. Clark and his older brother John found out about the Federal Arts Projects from a friend and used the friend’s house mailing address for WPA correspondence and paychecks because they did not qualify to join from the neighborhood .in which they lived. Clark worked in the fine arts print section of the WPA in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While there Clark was in charge of the tour guides. That way he could get to know important people that could help him with his career as an artist and at the same time appear in all of the picture publicizing at the WPA in Philadelphia.

This proved to be great promotion for Clark doing 1980’s and 1990’s when two books were being published on other artists towards the end of the 20th Century and beginning of the 21st Century. One of the books was about the Philadelphia printmaker and inventor of the Ophelia printing process during the late 1930’s earlier known as Carborundum and carborgraph printing process. The book was about Dox Thrash but several photographs of Clark and at least one carborgraph etching of Clark’s work are shown and Claude Clark’s name is all through the book.

The Harmon Foundation did not discover Claude Clark; Claude Clark discovered the Harmon Foundation. He loaded paintings into his car and had several brothers drive him and his work from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to the Harmon Foundation in New York City, New York. Clark walked into the director’s office; introduced himself, showed the director his paintings, a gallery brochure from his first solo exhibit and some news clippings. That is how Clark became an art member of the Harmon Foundation. The director who's name was Miss Mary B. Brady took a special interest in him and his artwork until the foundation closed in 1966.

Before leaving Talladega College to go to California Claude Clark and the director of the Harmon Foundation made the selection of the person who would replace him at Talladega College. As a result David Driskell was introduced as an artist to the Harmon Foundation. David Driskell would gain connection in the U.S. State Department through the Harmon Foundation which gave Driskell access to becoming the leading authority on African American art. Before the Harmon Foundation closed in 1966 to Clark’s death in 2001 David Driskell was Clark’s number one ticket for exhibits and art recognition.

In 1954 Clark and his wife Diama Clark began carving Clark’s art recognition in California. Clark and his wife managed to arrange for “two Solo Goodwill Art Exhibits”, 15 paintings each, to tour the south and northern part of the United States. The exhibits started From Talladega and end in Sacramento in 1956. Clark obtained a solo show at the then Crocker Art Gallery, later to become Crocker Museum and he had an on going relationship with the Sacramento Bee News paper for publicity purposes.

This brief introduction will hopeful be useful as you look though the Press releases.