Solomon Thurman



Solomon Thurman  is an artist, researcher, and teacher, born in St. Louis, MO, where he continues to work and live.

He received a liberal arts degree for Forest Park College in 1978 and graduated from Graphique Commercial Art Institute in 1980. He is a 2002 St. Louis Regional Arts and Webster University  “Community Arts Training” program graduate (CAT) “ Fellow”.  Painting for more than three decades, Solomon’s painting style can be categorized as conceptual realism and contemporary abstractions. His art interest focus primarily on the american experience with an emphasis on the african diaspora. He has been featured in numerous one-man and group exhibitions in United States, Canada and Brazil.

Solomon was commissioned by the “Committee for the Aviation Mural Project Success” (CAMPS) to research and paint the historical contribution of African Americans in aviation.  Working with his late partner, Spencer Taylor,  they created the aviation mural, titled,  “Black American’s in Flight” located at Lambert St. Louis International Airport. The eight feet high, and fifty one feet wide aviation mural, depicting the Tuskegee Airman, has been viewed by more than 100 million people, since it’s unveiling in 1991.

Solomon was commissioned by prominent  St. Louis civil rights attorney, Mrs. Margaret Bush Wilson, to paint a portrait of “Celia”, a slave from Fulton, MO.  The larger than life size painting was unveiled at the Missouri Historical Society in 1995.  He compiled two booklets on the subject; the first booklet, the “The Face of Celia”, documents his experience while he painted the portrait; the second, written ten years after the unveiling, depicted Celia’s life, titled “Celia, v.s. the State of Missouri” .

In a salute to his ancestry, Solomon created a thirty-three piece exhibit, depicting the hardships of post-slavery life in southern Mississippi and the great migration north.  The paintings retraced the area and experiences of Solomon’s third cousin Emmett Till, lynched in 1955. “Through his manipulation of various media, Thurman has produced an engaging body of work that reminds the viewer of the past and its effects upon present day generations”, says Anthropologist, Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris.

As executive board member of Propeller Gallery, located in Toronto, Ontario Canada, he restructured the gallery by creating an “artist collective gallery” model.  Most recently in 2007, he co-planned and exhibited at the Black Fine Arts Show during the National Urban League’s 100 anniversary in St. Louis, MO.

Solomon Thurman has received numerous recognition and indirect grants for his artistic projects, including St. Louis Regional Arts Commission (RAC), and Missouri Arts Council (MAC), “Black World History Museum”.  In 2007, he was featured in Who’s Who’s in Black St. Louis.

Solomon continues to be active in the St. Louis area in annual community art related events; Picture of Music sponsored by St. Louis Symphony, Wallball, sponsored by South City Children’s Gallery,  Wonders of the Outdoor World (WOW), sponsored by Missouri Parks and Recreation Department.   Solomon has  numerous public art projects located through out St. Louis.  Most recently Solomon painted a conceptual landscape of the St. Louis River Front for the Black World History Museum’s exhibit. 

Solomon is a founding member and on the executive board of Creative Company, a St. Louis based visual artists collective.  When not painting, researching, or lecturing, Solomon is a community outreach instructor or the Saint Louis Art Museum.

In the past three decades, his body of work continues to be a journey of artistic growth. Solomon remains dedicated to bringing art, history and the community together.

“urban cowboy”

People Project



Name: Solomon Thurman, Jr

Status: Married

Hometown: St. Louis, MO


Occupation: Artist Educator


Quote: “History is a compass people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. “  John Hendrik Clark

New Reading: Celia v.s. State of Missouri  by Solomon Thurman

Movies: Hallelujah by Vidor Gore & The Defiant Ones, with Sidney Poitier

TV Shows: Sanford and Son, Cedric the Entertainer Show

Musicians: Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Travel Destination: Canada, England, India, Australia and USA





Celia Project presentation in Fulton, MO

December 21, 2007