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BAL show reunites LU art alumni

cacioppo watercolor
A watercolor by Mike Cacioppo, part of "Mike Cacioppo & Lamar Legends" at the Beaumont Art League Dec. 7-Jan 31. Courtesy photo

In the 1970s, when Mike Cacioppo attended Lamar University to study fine arts, the students and faculty were a tight-knit group, he said.

“Every student and professor at Lamar had an impact on me and I am sure we did each other,” Cacioppo said.

When the Beaumont Art League offered him a chance to host an art exhibition, Cacioppo knew exactly what he wanted. It was a chance to highlight his contemporaries from that era. “Mike Cacioppo and Lamar Legends” will be on display at BAL, Dec. 7 to Jan. 31. The show opens with a free reception, Dec. 10, 2-4 p.m.

“This will be a celebration of the gifted artists that the art department produced in the ’70s,” Cacioppo said. “I realized that all the people I went to school with are fantastic artists and some of them don’t get the exposure they deserve.”

As a child, Cacioppo said he always had a passion for art. He knew that he wanted to study art in college from the moment he graduated high school.

“I was a so-so student,” Cacioppo said.” I wasn’t great at math, and I knew I had the ability and passion for art so I thought I could try that out. When in school, I didn’t have much of an outlet for art, especially because I went to a Catholic school.”

During his time at Lamar, Cacioppo, who graduated in 1977, made good connections with not just his classmates but his professors as well. He remembers staying in a classroom until his professors got off working on projects.

“It was a wonderful atmosphere and at the same time lots of fun,” Cacioppo said. “In addition to working hard, learning what we were supposed to, we had a lot of fun. It is because of my professors that I am able to do what I do now.”

Sam Daleo Jr. is a participant in the art show. He is Cacioppo’s cousin and graduated from Lamar in December of 1976.

“The art department was close knit,” Daleo said. “The professors were helpful and took an interest in you, not just as a student but as a person, and I really enjoyed it.”

When in art school, Cacioppo learned different mediums and styles of art, but said he has always had an affinity towards watercolors because of how mobile they are.

“I would take my watercolors to the park and paint landscapes,” Cacioppo said. “If the watercolor came out bad that day it was alright, because I still had a wonderful day in the park.”

Alongside Cacioppo and Daleo in the exhibition are fromer students Linnis Blanton, Sandra Laurette, Greg Busceme, Jamie Paul Kessler, Albert Faggard, Art Nations, Curtis Black, Joey Blazek, Jeff McManus, Igalious Mills and Rosemary Mathis. LU’s faculty is represented by Robert Madden, Robert O’Neill, Robert Rogan, Jerry Newman, Conn Trussell and Lynne Lokensgard

Art means different things to different people, but Cacioppo said it is an experience that everyone should go though in life.

“So many times, art makes your life so much more wonderful, and for me, it definitely does that.” Cacioppo said. “I do 2-dimensional art, but there are all kinds of art, and everyone experiences it differently. Art can be theater, it can be dance or music. Art is in everyone’s life even if they don’t realize it. When I am making art, I am no longer in this world — I am in another world, and it is fantastic.”

The Beaumont Art League is located at 2675 Gulf St. For more, visit

A watercolor by Mike Cacioppo, part of "Mike Cacioppo & Lamar Legends" at the Beaumont Art League Dec. 7-Jan 31. Courtesy photo


Category: Features