Craig Lucas was born in Cleveland in 1941 and his career was centered upon his artistic practice in the Cleveland area, growing through his influence as a teacher at Kent State University School of Art and through his unwavering commitment to the practice of painting. He received a BFA from Kent State in 1967 and an MA in 1976. He began teaching at Kent in 1969, and, on retiring in 2004, was honored as an Emeritus Professor and with the establishment of a graduate assistantship in his name. Lucas passed away in his sleep from natural causes in 2011.
His exhibitions included one-person shows at the Akron Art Museum; John Davis Gallery (Akron); Ohio University; William Busta Gallery (Cleveland); Occidental College (Los Angeles); Zygote Press (Cleveland); and the inclusion of a large body of his work in The Invitational at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1994. He had exhibited extensively in group shows in the region, and nationally, including 11 times in the May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art, winning the prestigious Painting Award in 1990.
In 1998 he completed Double Atlas, a major commission for Progressive Insurance's new facility in Florida. Lucas and his collaborator, Michael Loderstedt, collected botanical specimens and photographed the area, then embedded the images and material into a painterly composition that fills its space with warmth and authority.
Lucas had received numerous awards, including an Ohio Arts Council Fellowship, the Visual Arts Award from the Akron Area Arts Alliance and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Visual Arts from Cleveland Arts Prize. His dedication to the community and to education helped shape the Northeast Ohio cultural atmosphere. His work is in the collections of the Akron Art Museum, Progressive Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Hahn Loeser + Parks, and the Canton Art Museum.
Lucas was a founding member of SPACES in 1978.