Outside artist Julien Lucien Crump,Philadelphia 1934-2006 I AM WHAT I AM “ 30”x40 acrylic on panel
from the Philadelphia Inquirer the following, The Lucien Crump Art Gallery and Education Center closed its doors for the final time Friday after 40 years of serving Philadelphia as the first to feature works by African-American artists.
The gallery’s namesake, who had a long career as an artist and educator, passed away at age 71 in 2006.
In the last days of the gallery’s opening, an announcement of the change caused neighbors and art lovers alike to pause and share their memories.
“Since people have seen the closing sign in the window, all walks of life have stopped by saying, ‘I just don’t want to see you go’ or ‘This place is something,’ ” said Loretta Tate Crump, the late artist’s 70-year-old widow.
“I guess when you living in this you don’t necessarily see anything special because, I guess, it’s just your job and your livelihood, but I’ve been really, really, surprised and elevated. For Lucien, art was his thing. Nothing else mattered to him,” she said.
Crump, who was known worldwide for his work titled “The Universal Christ,” taught art at several local schools, including Vaux and Stetson middle schools and Martin Luther King High School.
“When my husband realized he was transitioning, he told me not to keep the gallery open,” recalled Tate Crump. “The day of his funeral, the building’s owner was trying to scurry up his friends to make the Lucien Crump Gallery forever.
“After 12 years operation as a nonprofit, I decided I wanted to do something else,” she added. “My plan is to do genealogy research on my family.”
The couple first met in the late 1970s in St. Louis where she was attending college and he was operating a studio.
“The rest was history,” she said. “When I graduated St. Louis University, his father was living in Philadelphia. That’s how our relationship went and we ended up being married in 1980. We were married forever.”
Tate Crump’s background in physics, health education and computer science allowed her to encourage students by integrating math, science and art.
However, she has been researching her family tree for years, beginning in high school when she asked her mother questions.
“As an adult, I picked up the genealogy thing. In the 80s, the information I got from my mom allowed me to verify my relatives,” said Tate Crump.
In recent years, Tate Crump found that managing the gallery at 6376 Germantown Ave. impeded with her expanding research, so she decided to retire the gallery and it’s nonprofit.
Yet, while one door is closing and another has opened, she is comfortable, if uncertain, of her future.
“I really haven’t thought about what I may do with the information other than share it with family,” Tate Crump said. “I have really been thinking now I will be in a position to share it.”