Beginning February 9, 2023, the Sampson Arts Council is hosting a “Sharing Our Gifts” gallery in recognition of Black History Month. This show features paintings, prints, drawings, and photography by six Sampson County artists. Among the six include Sampson Community College’s (SCC) own Larry Boone, a member of the Housekeeping & Maintenance team.
A Sampson County native, Boone recounts his love for art going back to age five. “The first thing I remember drawing was a four-legged animal, with only two legs. My father said, ‘Son, it has four legs.’” From that moment on, his love for art was born. He became known as the go-to artist for his schoolteachers’ needs from grades one through twelve. He fondly recounts how his teachers would encourage him and help expand his ability by having “Larry draw it.”
His first competition was while he was a student at Hargrove High School. In 1968, Sampson County hosted a Hook Worm Contest where each school was able to choose a student’s artwork to represent their school. Boone brought home the winning certificate that year in the competition.
In 1968, Boone’s mother found an ad for an art contest in an old Southern Planter magazine. Because of his growing talent in art, she submitted his work to help keep him interested in the subject. The winner would receive in-home art lessons from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Boone did submit for the contest, and won a spot in the certificate program.
He recalled, “It was a correspondence course you receive through the mail. Not like a program you would see today – online and whatnot. It was fun to me because you knew you had a monthly deadline to have your work mailed in and graded. Then, they would respond with remarks on that project – how well you did, the ups and downs, and what you could improve on. They would also include in the response the next lesson and assignment for the following month.”
In 1974, Boone received his certificate as a freelance commercial artist. Boone then went on to attend Robert-Walsh Business School from 1987-1988 in Union, New Jersey. He completed a one-year program to receive a Computer Programming certificate.
Upon finishing school, he wanted to focus on his passion – art. He relocated to Newark, New Jersey, where he worked full-time in the public sector and self-employed part-time out of his apartment as a freelance commercial artist. He would create, “…commissioned items, calligraphy items, banners, murals, and lettering to name a few projects.”
After starting a family, Boone returned to NC– first Wilson then Clinton where he worked at Allen’s Canning Company for 25 years. During that time, he practiced his art more as a personal hobby to improve upon instead of commercial work.
In 2016, he was given the opportunity to attend school for higher education. He enrolled at Sampson Community College in pursuit of an Associate Degree in Information Technology (IT).
“That program was so rewarding to me. All of the instructors I had and various classes I had to take are helping me now in my career as an artist,” Boone stated. “.. my instructors, math, public speaking, all those classes have helped me so much. All that schooling has gotten me to where I am today, especially the math. In the art world there are so many ways you must use math. In the art itself, then also on the resale side. Before when I was in school, all I could think is ‘how in the world am I going to use all this math,’ but now I need it.”
When asked about his inspiration for his “Sharing Our Gifts” gallery collection, Boone stated he wanted to leave something to help future generations remember the past. Starting with the Sampson County Courthouse, he wanted to draw something that would benefit all. He also enjoys the challenge of ensuring accuracy of the intricacies of older architecture in his artwork.
He remarked, “[I wanted it to be] something that has a personal connection to everyone, that brings us all together while solidifying a historic building through art. If I must erase and redraw and erase again, I’m going to make sure I accurately draw the beauty of the historic buildings. They took so much pride in the complex designs and columns, I want to ensure it is something the younger generations can remember.”
Boone’s collection in the art show features historic buildings across Clinton, NC including the Sampson County Courthouse, Victor R. Small House, First Baptist Church, old Sampson High School, and the Lisbon Street Baptist Church. He plans on expanding his collection at the conclusion of the show to include the old Clinton Train Depot as well as other historic buildings in Clinton and in surrounding counties.
He expressed how even though he has been a practicing artist for 62 years, he is still learning new techniques every day. Boone emphasized that he continues to learn so much from other artists, studying their techniques and use of emotions in their work. But most importantly, he “gives God the praise for [his long career, gift, and passion].”
Boone concluded stating that the biggest takeaway from his career is being able “… to see the joy and emotions that someone experiences while viewing the art and to help brighten someone’s day. I want to encourage everyone, young and old, to explore the career or gift that God has given you to the best of your ability. We’re meant to share those things, because He did not give them to everyone.”
If you would like to attend the Sharing Our Gifts Gallery it is available at the Victor R. Small house at 709 College Street, Clinton, NC 2828 Monday through Friday at 10 AM to 2PM. You are also able to schedule an appointment to view by calling 910-596-2533.
About Sampson Community College
Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options and early college education.
About Sampson Art Council
The Sampson County Arts Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and support of the arts in Sampson County. The arts include music, visual arts, theatre arts, dance, and literature. This includes arts events such as art galleries and instructional classes. Please email email@example.com for more information.