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Raleigh Joseph Spinks
Raleigh Joseph Spinks (American, 1926-2005) was an artist, painter, urban designer and city planner. He was known for his watercolor paintings of architectural designs, everyday working class people and scenes, cityscapes, seasonal rural landscapes and Buffalo’s landmarks and waterfront. Raleigh had a successful career working for the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning in Buffalo, NY. After his retirement in 1984, he began to exhibit his artwork and often gave painting demonstrations. Raleigh exhibited frequently and won several awards for his artwork. Other artist friends admired him for his abilities and willingness to share his depth of knowledge from a life long study of the arts. He was a respected member of the art community of WNY and is represented by the Art Dialogue Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Spinks graduated from Lane Technical High School and received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1949. He went on to receive his Masters degree in Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and also his Master’s in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia, PA.

Raleigh served in the U.S. Army from 1945-47 as a combat artist during World War II. He was in charge of designing and overseeing the construction of the WWII Army Beachhead Memorial Monuments in Casablanca, Morocco; Sicily, Italy; Anzio, Italy and Saint-Tropez, France in 1946. The Monuments were memorials to some of the major battles fought by American soldiers and campaigns fought alongside allied troops during the war. After being discharged from the Army, he went to work as an urban designer and city planner in Philadelphia, PA and later in Chicago, before returning east in 1971 to work for the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning in Buffalo, NY.

Artist Statement:

“You, whose day it is, make it beautiful. Get out your rainbow colors so it will be beautiful.”-as quoted from the Nookta Indian tribe, Raleigh J. Spinks, 1994.

Chronology:

1926- Born, December 21st, Chicago, IL.

1945-47- Served in the Army as a combat artist. He was in charge of designing and overseeing the construction of several WWII Army Beachhead Memorial Monuments in Casablanca, Morocco; Sicily, Italy; Anzio, Italy and Saint-Tropez, France (1946).

1949- Graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago, IL.

circa mid 1950’s- Earned Masters degree in Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and also his Master’s in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia, PA.

circa mid 1950’s-71- Worked as an urban designer and city planner in Philadelphia, PA and also Chicago, IL.

1971-1984- Worked as an urban designer and city planner for the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, Buffalo, NY.

1984- Retired from work. Began to give painting lessons and demonstrations. Worked with his wife, Suzanne Toomey Spinks, to promote their West Side neighborhood in Buffalo, NY.

2005- Died at the age of 79, Saturday September 3rd, after a long illness at Buffalo General Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Raleigh continued to paint almost to the end of his life. He is survived by his wife, two sons, Joseph and Peter, two daughters, Beth and Ruth, two brothers, Preston and Wayne, a sister, Trudy and nine grandchildren.

2008- Exhibited, “Raleigh J. Spinks: A life’s Work”, Retrospective show May 2nd through June 6th, at the Art Dialogue Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Memberships: The Buffalo Society of Artists; Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society; The Fine Arts League; East Aurora Art Society; Western New York Artists Group; the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Society of the Third Infantry Division of the U.S. Army Post 5.

(Rewritten in parts & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 05/2008. Sources: The Buffalo News, News Library archive, “Raleigh J. Spinks Jr., artist, county planner”, Published on September 10, 2005; Anzio Beachhead 22 January-25 May 1944, Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1990, one of a series of fourteen studies, first printed by the Historical Division, War Department, for the American Forces in Action series, 1948, CMH Pub 100-10, www.history.mil; The Buffalo News, Gusto article on the “Raleigh J. Spinks exhibit features Buffalo landmarks”, and Artist’s Statement, May 2nd, 2008, by Colin Dabkowski; Artvoice article, “Raleigh Spinks retrospective at Art Dialogue Gallery”, by Judy Einach, 10/2008; Anthem, Anthemios Alumnus Association, Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity Alumni Newsletter, anthem.anthemios.org, .PDF Document, anthem.remembers, “Anthemios Alumnus Raleigh J. Spinks, 1949: in memorandum”, by Douglas L. Milburn advisor to the editor and Alumni President, 08/2006 and included letter from Suzanne Toomey Spinks, dated October 3rd, 2005)

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