Local portrait artist honors playwright Garland Lee Thompson Sr.

Local portrait artist honors playwright Garland Lee Thompson Sr.
August 26
00:00 2015

Above: Leo Rucker’s painting of  Garland Lee Thompson Sr.

Special to The Chronicle

The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) honored the late Garland Lee Thompson Sr., a playwright, who died in November 2014. He  was an integral part of the festival.

Winston-Salem artist Leo Rucker has painted a likeness of Thompson, who was a longtime supporter and good friend the late NBTF founder Larry Leon Hamlin. His tribute and homegoing event at the NBTF, Act III, was held on Aug. 6, at the Marriott hotel in downtown Winston-Salem, where Rucker unveiled his honorary artwork.

Rucker’s project began immediately after a conversation with Aduke Aremu, producer, playwright and radio host. Upon their initial meeting at St. Phillips African Moravian Church in Old Salem Museum and Gardens in December 2014, Rucker then began to work through the thought process of how the composition of the painting would reveal itself.

During the NBTF event, Garland Thompson Jr. expressed that the likeness really captures who his father was outside of what people saw in his everyday life. The many friends and peers who attended the event agreed.

Rucker, for the past 25 years, has rendered over 200 portraits with 80 percent of them for Segment Marketing Services Inc. They are featured in Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine. The column Role Model features outstanding African-American women in various communities and professions.

For more information about Rucker’s work, go to his website, or email him at

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