The late Amos Lawrence Lewis Sr. worked deftly with his hands – hyper-focused and detail oriented no matter the medium with which he chose to express himself.

He was an artist who loved capturing the eye with bright, bold colors. In a series of collages he created, he rendered a self-portrait square by square with yellows, blues, blacks, and browns.

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Working from photographs of his children and wife, Maggie B. Lewis-Butler, he captured their likeness with precision and care. Lewis-Butler, a retired teacher, Leon County School Board member, and widow of Lewis, fondly recalls her late husband asking her to sit still for one of his sculptures.

While Lewis passed away in 1995, Lewis-Butler says his fervent commitment to his students and his legacy in art education lives on.

Amos Lawrence Lewis Sr., Maggie B. Lewis-Butler, Amy (daughter) and some of his grandchildren

“He thought it was important to expose Black students to art education,” says Lewis-Butler, who remembers Lewis giving her a pair of hand-crafted animal earrings to wear to her science class. “He was able to teach history, science, and math as a part of art education. He believed everyone had the ability to create art, and that everyone could be an artist. Through art education, you could discover your passions. ”

‘Indelible Marks’ at City Hall

The “Indelible Marks” exhibition at the City Hall Art Gallery this spring celebrates Lewis’ ceramics, painting, printmaking, collage, and mixed media sculptural works alongside another pillar of the art and education community, educator and artist Leon “Uncle Junior” Hicks.


While Lewis taught in the Florida A&M University art department before teaching art at FAMU’s Developmental Research School for 25 years, Hicks’ teaching career also began at FAMU.

For five decades, the master engraver taught at Concord University, Lincoln University, Lehigh University, and 25 years at Webster University where a scholarship was created in his name, and Hicks continues to teach and mentor emerging artists in Tallahassee at the age 89.

New Faces - Series 10 # 4 - Artist Proof by Leon Hicks;  part of

Venvi Art Gallery owner and director Brinda Pamulapati witnessed Hicks’ passion for teaching firsthand when she took her son to his engraving class at Railroad Square just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Hicks created a personal engraving kit for each student, and filled it with the tools they needed to learn several beginning techniques, as well as copper plates for practice etchings.

“His work is evergreen and he is passionate about teaching,” says Pamulapati. “He’s been very innovative and forward thinking. It will take the art world a long time to catch up with him. ”

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