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About

Lewis Lee “Lew” Tilley was born on May 17, 1921 in Parrott, Georgia.  He excelled in visual, literary, and performing arts earning his BA from the University of Georgia and his MFA from the Universidad de Guanajuato’s Instituto de Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  Tilley first came to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1938 to study with Boardman Robinson who headed the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center School.  During 1955, as a freelance photographer for Black Star photography agency, Tilley took numerous photographs of Fannie Mae Duncan and her famous Cotton Club.  The Cotton Club, well-known for its “everybody welcome” spirit of hospitality, attracted many famous jazz musicians to the Pikes Peak region.  Tilley wrote, produced and directed for the Alexander Film Company from 1958-1962.  In 1962 he worked in Kaduna, Nigeria, for the British Ministry of Education and the Peace Corps. When he returned to Colorado, he became professor of art at the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo.  Tilley also taught at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the Colorado College.  He retired in 1985 and died on October 4, 2005.

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