All About...Charles Shepard

Get to know the President and CEO of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (FWMoA)
Nov 13, 2017
Steve Vorderman
All About...Charles Shepard

AllAbout_web1

1. Photo: Charles and his wife Amanda have been married for six years. They are a unique couple because they are the CEO and COO, respectively, of the FWMoA.

2. Notebook: For Charles and Amanda’s first anniversary, Amanda gave Charles a book in which she had written something she loved about him every day of the year. 

3. Plane: While living and working in Connecticut, Charles was asked to start a new museum in the city of New London. He created the Lyman Allyn Doll and Toy Museum, but found he had more dolls than toys. In his efforts to grow the collection of toys, this plane was the first piece he acquired. He found it to be too incomplete for the collection, so he purchased it and kept it himself.  

4. Conch shell: Charles was always a reluctant vacationer until the past few years, in part because of an unfortunate trip to the Bahamas in 1985 where everything went wrong. However, having grown up in Maine, Charles has always loved shells. When he discovered that local children were diving in the water for shells and selling them to tourists during that fateful trip to the Bahamas, he couldn’t pass up this conch shell as a souvenir. 

5. Portrait and prayer book: Charles’ great great grandfather, pictured in the portrait, fought in the Civil War. When he was walking home to Maine after sustaining a head wound, he found this prayer book in a bombed out house in Harper’s Ferry. It has been in Charles’ family ever since. 

6. Mad dog license plate: When Joe Cocker’s album Mad Dogs & Englishmen came out, Charles had a Cutlass convertible 442. Inspired by the album, he got Mad Dog on his license plate, but soon found he was frequently being stopped by police. When he finally asked an officer why he was so often being pulled over, he was told that police thought he was “advertising that he was trouble.” Charles did not renew the plate again. 

7. Rosary: Charles converted to Catholicism more than six years ago, doing so in part because his wife was Catholic. He began attending classes at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church where he caught the attention of Bishop Darcy, who recognized him. Bishop Darcy would frequently pull Charles out of the regular classes to give him lessons one-on-one, something Charles treasures to this day.

8. High chair: Charles and Amanda have a 19-month-old daughter named Louise.

9. Pikachu: Charles’ son Buddy painted this as a gift for Charles when he was young. When Charles’ stepson Thurston saw the Pikachu, he was thrilled and asked to have it because he is a huge Pokémon and Harry Potter fan. 

10. Gold whale (partially obscured): When Charles was working in New London, he received this gold whale as a thank you gift for speaking to a Rotary Club. He was also made a member at that time. When he moved to Fort Wayne, his first meeting was with a Rotary group and he immediately joined a local chapter. 

11. Photo: Charles took this photo of Herman Leonard, renowned jazz photographer, who Charles met at Ohio University while he was there to build the Kennedy Museum of Art. They became friends and Charles later arranged for Herman to receive an honorary degree from Ohio University. On Nov. 11, a FWMoA exhibition of Herman’s photos, on loan from the Kennedy Museum of Art, will begin and run through Jan. 28. 

12. Painting: Charles’ wife Amanda studied fine arts at Notre Dame and painted this painting. She has a studio in the basement of their home and still paints when time allows.


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