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UMES professor's baseball collection on display in Salisbury

  • Exhibit runs through March 31, 2018

    Thursday, February 15, 2018
    UMES art professor Christopher Harrington

    Professional baseball spring training is underway and a new exhibit with multiple ties to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore opens Friday, Feb. 16, at the rebranded Salisbury Art Space in downtown Salisbury. 

    “The Art and History of the Negro Leagues,” which will be featured through March 31, explores the impact of the Negro League baseball through historical artifacts and works of art. 

    The artifacts on display are largely the collection of Christopher Harrington, chairman of UMES' the fine arts department. Among the memorabilia exhibited are baseball cards, autographed balls and bats, equipment and historic documents. 

    A rookie card of the great Satchell Paige, and bats autographed by Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Buck Leonard are among the collection's standouts. A yearbook from Pasadena (Calif.) Community College, where Jackie Robinson was a student, will also be on exhibit. It lists Robinson as a baseball, football and basketball player. 

    Visitors also can view a stadium seat from Chicago's Comiskey Park, which was used from 1910 to 1990 and fans who sat in it would have witnessed many Negro League games - including the annual East-West All-Star games. 

    Along with historic artifacts, Negro Leagues-inspired art also will be part of the exhibit. Works by Phillip Dewey, UMES alumnus Matthew Shockley and others will be displayed. 

    “The personalities and talents of the Negro League players have inspired the work of a number of artists,” Harrington said. “These are stories of strength and achievement and the joy of the game, and I hope visitors will be inspired as well.”

    George Wilson by Phillip Dewey

    Salisbury Art Space, formerly known as the Art Institute and Gallery, has recently undergone a rebranding effort, to emphasize its role as a community arts center. 

    “The Art and History of the Negro Leagues” illustrates the organization's renewed outreach efforts. 

     “We hope this exhibit will draw in diverse members of the community: arts supporters, baseball fans, history buffs, and those with an interest in African American history and culture,” executive director Ali Grice said. 

    Friday night's opening reception will be from 5 to 8 p.m. 

    “Coach” Kirkland Hall, a 1974 UMES alum and exercise science professor who played on the Oaksville team in Somerset County, will be a special guest at the event. The Oaksville Eagles were founded in 1910 and competed into the late l970s. Hall, and his brother Kim, are in the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame and helped lead the effort to restore the Oaksville playing field on the outskirts of Princess Anne. 

    Support for this exhibition was provided by Maryland Eastern Shore Baseball. The downtown Salisbury gallery is located at 212 W. Main St., Suite 101.

    This edited-for-space report was initially generated by Salisbury Art Space.