75-Year-Old YSU Student Pursuing Art Degree

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A steel sculpture, called the Deck of Cards sits behind Youngstown State University’s Bliss Hall. The artist: 75-year-old Lew Devlin.

They’re steel plate, two-by-two square,” Devlin said. “I welded them, painted it. Problem was getting it stacked the right way so it wouldn’t tilt, finding the balance.”

Devlin’s balance means earning an art degree from YSU, something he’s been working on since he retired 10 years ago.

“I don’t want to be the oldest,” he said.

Devlin recently showed off his art studio that includes his sculptures, ceramics and photography projects that include black and white photos from his childhood growing up on Youngstown’s North Side.

“I took the old snapshots and enlarged them,” he said.

When Devlin graduated from YSU the first time in 1961, he was a business major who ended up in steel and metal sales.

At 75, he’s molding steel, and planning his next move.

“I’m interested in buying and selling antiuques and art,” he said, adding. “Maybe I could be a curator, open a gallery.”

Devlin’s sense of humor has helped carry him through bypass surgery months ago and makes him a favorite with the younger crowd.

“He goes to the basketball games, he’s involved with everything that happens here,” said Andy Thomas. “You never know, you come (to YSU’s art department) in the middle of the night and there’s Lou, he’s working on something.”

With 20 more credits left, Devlin said he’s determined.

“I think there are some older than me,” Devlin said of past art department graduates. “By the time I graduate I might be.”


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