Tom Neal Lends Artistic Talent to Scarborough Society Galas
Although Tom Neal `75 was a Hall of Fame athlete for the Shepherd College football team, it is his artistic passion that will be showcased this August. Tom has lent his talents to the painting of a four panel backdrop depicting the Emerald City for the Scarborough Society’s 15th annual gala The Wizard of Oz.
Outside of one class during his time at Shepherd, Neal has no formal art training. Instead, he served 37 years as an elementary education and physical education teacher in Berkeley County. It was during this time that a brainstorm hit to use art as an instructional method for special education classes at Pikeside School. Neal painted cartoon figures on the wall outside the bathroom, which allowed teachers to use references that were appealing and resonant with students. Once word spread, Tom found himself painting figures at almost every elementary school in the county.
Neal’s talents have been utilized beyond cartoon figures in all facets of the community. He has painted many mascots, including the Martinsburg Bulldog. His work has also been used at the Air Guard facility and at local churches. This side business soon proved to be more lucrative than his teaching wages.
In 2013 Neal was recruited by Scarborough Society Gala Committee Chair Sara Lueck to paint a backdrop of Tara to be used as a backdrop for that year’s Gone with the Wind theme. When the committee again decided to use a backdrop as focal point for the 2016 gala, Lueck turned to Neal for help.
“She gave me an inspiration photo, and I added my own unique details,” said Neal. “I extended out the landscape, highlighted the bricks in the Yellow Brick Road, and added sparkles to the Emerald City skyline. I’ve given it my personal touch.”
If you would like to attend the Scarborough Society Gala and see Neal’s work in person, please visit https://shepherduniversityfoundation.org/giving-opportunities/scarborough-society/events/ for more details.