September 22, 2013

The Art of Donald Smith & Alphonza Clark


Two Danville local artists are featured in the Boatwright Gallery and Gallery IV through December 1, 2013 Both products of the Danville Public Schools, each displayed an affinity for art at an early age. Alphonza Clark perfected his craft while serving as an illustrator for the United States Air Force, then at Averett University. Portraits of long-time George Washington High School teacher and former Mayor Ruby Archie and the founders of the NAACP are just two of his oil paintings on display. A youthful Muhammad Ali, replete with his symbolic butterfly and bee, stands poised to deliver a knock-out punch in another. His largest work, also an oil painting, reads like a visual diary of the Civil Rights Movement. Although none of Clark’s paintings in the exhibition are for sale, prints of Civil Rights Struggle are available.


Donald Smith, once referred to as a “Renaissance man” in a 1986 Chatterboxarticle, proved himself to be an equally gifted athlete and artist at an early age. At George Washington High School, he performed in football, basketball, baseball and track with as much talent as he displayed in his art classes. The mural of Danville landmarks he completed his senior year still graces the wall outside the school library. Voted outstanding defensive back in his high school district, Smith went to Liberty University on a football scholarship. Drafted immediately out of college, he played for both the Dallas Cowboys and the Toronto Argonauts before realizing that his passion for teaching outweighed his love of the game. Fortunately for Danville, he returned to his home town where he now teaches at Gibson Elementary School and coaches at GWHS. His paintings and the accompanying texts display his respect for family and tradition, a profound religious faith and a commitment to his community, as well as his love of sports. Working primarily in colored pencils and pastels, many of his original works of art and prints are for sale.