Sam Sheppard case explored in BAYarts exhibit
When you stand on the front porch of that iconic green Victorian house on south side of Lake Road, you're standing where Sam Sheppard was arrested for the murder of his wife, Marilyn. The house is part of the BAYarts campus, and formally known as The Irene Lawrence Fuller House, named after one of the original owners. Sam Sheppard's parents lived in the house when it was in its original location on the east side of Bay Village, prior to being sent down a barge on Lake Erie for relocation in the mid-'80s.
The Fuller House is now part of the BAYarts campus, and home to the Sullivan Family Gallery for Fine Art. Each month, there is a new exhibition hosted there. As this year marked the 60th anniversary of the crime, it seemed an appropriate time to showcase an art exhibit that reflected upon that past history that's so woven into the story of Bay Village.
The exhibition features several different artists, all working off of the same theme. Show curator Ross Lesko says you will see several different viewpoints. "Each artist has brought something different to the table, spanning a range of media from drawing, photography, digital collage and video. The artists have created thought-provoking work that is haunting and emotive. I've been intellectually and emotionally moved by this work and I hope others will be, as well."
The title for the gallery exhibition is "A Strange Holiday: An Aesthetic Examination of the Sam Sheppard Case." Lesko explains how the title came to be with a little-known anecdote: "On the night that Marilyn Sheppard was murdered, the Sheppards had their neighbors over for dinner. Afterward, they watched a movie on television. The title of the film was "A Strange Holiday." That title resonated with me, and made me think about what a strange holiday it must have been for the community of Bay Village the following day. I thought about how sad and shocking it must have been to wake up on July 4, 1954, thinking about celebrating Independence Day, only to discovered that a member of the community had been murdered."
You can see the show on display Aug. 8-Sept. 27. You are invited to attend the opening reception on Friday, Aug. 8, from 7-9 p.m.
Jessica Stockdale is a professional writer and a volunteer at BAYarts.