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Carlton L. Leverette Sr., ceramics artist who taught at Baltimore City Community College for 43 years, dies

Carlton L. Leverette Sr., a ceramist who taught at Baltimore City Community College, died of heart disease Aug. 4 at his Northwood home. He was 84.

Born in Greenwood, South Carolina, he was the son of Minnie Leverette, a homemaker, and Roger Leverette, a Consolidated Freightways driver. When he was 12 years old, his parents relocated from Greenwood to Baltimore and settled in the Somerset Project Apartments in Southeast Baltimore.

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He graduated with honors from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 1955.

After enlisting in the Army in 1958, he married his high school sweetheart, Carolyn Thompson, on Nov. 7, 1959.

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After leaving the military in 1962, he joined the Postal Service.

“My brother was an amazing young man who was multitasking before the term was ever used,” said his sister, Valerie Leverette of Catonsville.

Carlton L. Leverette Sr. retired in 2015 as chairman of the Baltimore City Community College art department.
Carlton L. Leverette Sr. retired in 2015 as chairman of the Baltimore City Community College art department.

“He was the quintessential big brother. He helped all of us to develop good social skills. He taught [us] to think before we spoke and to look a person in the eye when speaking with them. And to be the best we could be in everything we did. He continued to nurture us as we all grew up.”

She also said: “He was a fine husband, father and grandfather.”

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Mr. Leverette was among the first African Americans to integrate the old Baltimore Junior College, now Baltimore City Community College. While a full-time student, he worked full time at the Baltimore Post Office from 3:30 p.m. to midnight.

He received his associate of arts degree from BCCC in 1957. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Morgan State University in 1967.

He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1972.

He then accepted a teaching position with BCCC and served there until 2015.

“Professor Emeritus Carlton L. Leverette Sr. was a giant of an educator/artist to his students and colleagues at Baltimore City Community College,” said a colleague, Dr. Katana L. Hall. “His advocacy — social justice, equity, inclusion, artistic integrity and vision — for himself, his students, colleagues and residents of Baltimore City has impacted diverse generations.”

Dr. Hall, a professor of English and theater, also said: “What I cherish and will miss most about our beloved Carlton is his ability to create such profound beauty in an imperfect world.”

During his 43 years there, he served as an associate professor of art and taught in the Baltimore City Schools system at the same time.

Over the course of his professional career, he was a visiting professor at Morgan State, what was then Towson State University, the Johns Hopkins University and MICA. He also gave classes at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

During his tenure at BCCC, he became the coordinator of the fine arts department. He retired in 2015 as chair of the art department.

He has participated in numerous exhibitions.

Mr. Leverette was commissioned by the Civic Design Commissionfor a piece located above the entrance to Lawrence Paquin Junior and Senior High School at 2200 Sinclair Lane. It was installed in 1975.

His ceramics and other works are included in private collections of public schools and colleges, and patrons throughout the country and overseas.

Mr. Leverette’s inventive ceramics found critical praise.

A 2005 review of his works, which were then exhibited at the Galerie Francois in Greenspring Station, said: “The exquisitely glazed stoneware bowls, vessels and jars that have become Leverette’s signature are again on view, but with a twist: The new work not only seems to incorporate such wildly diverse influences as calligraphy, Pre-Columbian art and graffiti but also ... Matisse, abstract-expressionism and the naïve art of children and visionaries.”

The Sun’s art critic, the late Glenn McNatt, also said in his 2005 review: “This is art of great intelligence and passion, but with a measure of whimsy that reminds one that art can also be beautiful and fun. As we’ve come to expect of Leverette the master craftsman, every work is meticulously executed down to the smallest detail of design and finish.”

Among his awards were the Craftsmanship Award for the Pacquin Murals, the Peabody Award for Design and the Outstanding Art Performance and Student Teaching Award.

Survivors include his wife of nearly 62 years, a retired educator; two sons, Randall Leverette of New Paltz, New York, and Carlton L. Leverette Jr. of New York City; a daughter, Gabrielle Scott of California; two brothers, Rogers R. Leverette Jr. of Gwynn Oak and John Leverette of Rosedale; two sisters, Sharon Wright of Baltimore and Valerie Leverette of Catonsville; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Huber Memorial Church Community Life Center at 5700 Loch Raven Blvd.

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