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John Biggers

Born: 4/13/1924
Birthplace: Gastonia, N.C.

One of seven children whose father was a school principal, preacher, and basket maker, Biggers decided to become an artist while attending the Hampton Institute, a black college in Virginia. After leaving the navy in 1946, he enrolled in Pennsylvania State University, earning BS, MS, and PhD degrees. He went on to establish the art department at Texas Southern University, where he embarked on a number of community art projects. Biggers is known for his murals, which usually depict African American themes. Several of his murals were painted directly onto the walls of buildings that have since been demolished. Biggers received a UNESCO fellowship in 1957, which enabled him to visit a variety of countries in West Africa. The experience had a profound influence on his art. His work is displayed at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Howard University, and Pennsylvania State University.

Died: 2001

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