Larry Walker, 88, focused on diversity in his artwork

Larry Walker

Larry Walker at an artist talk and catalogue signing at MOCA GA in 2018. (Photo credit: John Ramspott) 

Larry Walker, a gifted artist and curator who worked diligently to support diversity during his two decades on the faculty at University of the Pacific, died Christmas Day 2023 at the age of 88.

Walker was a professor and chair of the Department of Art, where he worked from 1964 to 1983 before moving to Georgia.

Walker helped organize Pacific’s Black Caucus and was supportive of the Black Student Union.

“What strikes me about his work as a young artist and one of the first Black professors at Pacific is the continuity of his preoccupation with humanity,” said Lisa Cooperman, university curator. “The paintings he made in the early 1960s to his contemporary work continue to encompass themes of struggle even in peaceful settings.”

Walker donated some of his work to Pacific’s permanent art collection. One painting was part of a show called “Probe” on the Sacramento Campus.

“Pacific is honored to hold works of art by Larry Walker in its collection. Some are gifts of the artist and others were donated by community members who took his summer workshops,” Cooperman added.

Walker earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan before joining Pacific.

He later taught at Georgia State University until his retirement in 2000.

Walker is survived by his wife of 65 years, Gwen and their three children: Dana, Larry Jr. and Kara, herself an internationally known painter.

A memorial service was held in Georgia.