At the newly named John Roberts Lewis Hall, a portrait of the civil rights leader gazes upon Troy University students as they enter the academic building.
TROY graduate Karvarus Moore had the honor of painting the portrait that will be ingrained in Troy University’s history.
Moore is a Montgomery, Alabama native who graduated from Booker T. Washington Magnet High with an eye for the arts.
“I’ve been drawing and doodling my whole life,” Moore said. “In high school, I was really into art, painting and drawing.
“I came to TROY and had a blast in the art department. There’s a great art community there.”
Moore had the pleasure of getting to know Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. and his wife at an art display organized by the seniors of the art department during his final year at TROY.
“I stayed in contact with Mrs. Hawkins because she came to our senior thesis show for the art department, where the art students do a series of works of any medium of their choosing,” Moore said. “I did six portraits of my family members, and [Dr. and Mrs. Hawkins] came to the show and really liked my portraits.”
Moore and fellow art student Sara Ivey painted a mural of warriors on the back of the International Arts Center building for Mrs. Hawkins
“We got to talk with her more and work with her on that,” Moore said. “I went off to Chicago and we kept in contact.
“We caught up in early September, and she mentioned that she and Dr. Hawkins were wondering if I would want to do the portrait of John Lewis for the building.”
Moore drew sketches for the painting and completed it in two weeks. When it was time for the dedication ceremony, he took it from Chicago to Alabama, where it was framed and readied for the building.
Moore never imagined he’d have this opportunity and become a part of TROY’s history.
“It feels very honorable and surreal,” Moore said. “I never in a million years would’ve thought that I would be doing that.”
When presented with the opportunity to paint the portrait, Moore thought back to when his mom told him the story about Lewis. She was 9 years old when she remembered hearing about Lewis marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
“I’m just this art student from Montgomery that decided to go to TROY,” Moore concluded. “I got this amazing opportunity to paint this monumental individual in history who was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement.
“I think about how the many actions of the people who took part in the movement led me to the life I want to live. I thank them for the opportunities I’m able to get.”
Moore is currently a Master of Arts student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.