Lasting Legacies

Artistic talent runs deep through the Fitzgerald pedigree, dating back more than a century. This August, Kevin Fitzgerald and his son, Evan, will unveil collaborative works in a two-person show.

Written by Joe Willey  |  Photography by Svetlana Leahy

In some families, tradition runs like a long golden ribbon through the years.
Memories move by like a landscape changing in the sun and shade. This kind of continuity looks backward toward history but acts in the present by giving different answers to the same questions. Kevin Fitzgerald and his son Evan are painters who, like their ancestors, create to learn, observe and maintain the dialog with the past, present and future through art.

Kevin Fitzgerald is a third-generation artist in the Fitzgerald family. His grandfather, John R. Fitzgerald, graduated from the Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA) in 1910. He was a painter and cartographer for the U.S. Government. He designed some of the first aviation maps for the Department of Commerce. Some of Kevin’s earliest memories were of spending time with his grandfather in his basement studio, watching him paint. These memories have stayed with him and are constantly relived. His mother, Frances Jeanette Fitzgerald, was a painter, too. She attended the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in Washington, D.C., and, like her father, painted at night and devoted herself to the craft when she retired. Kevin attended MICA, earning his BFA in painting, and then earned his MFA in painting from The George Washington University. He painted, taught and worked unwaveringly to be able to paint full-time,
and at 47 years old, he did.

His son, Evan, is the fourth-generation painter and the third MICA alumni in the family, who also holds a MFA from James Madison University. In a happy quirk of fate, he and his father studied under two of the most prominent members of the MICA faculty—Albert “Abby“ Sangiamo and Raul Middleman. Each brought their concern with historical tradition and emphasis on craft to teaching the fine arts. Both Kevin and Evan feel a deep appreciation for this shared experience, though 30 years apart.

In August, Kevin and Evan have a joint show—featuring never-before-seen collaborative works—at the Art League of Ocean City Center for the Arts. Though their works seem to differ dramatically, both are firmly rooted in the Western tradition of painting—a classical focus on humans and the world around us—but look farther back into prehistory. They are exploring a sense of wonder.

For Kevin, landscapes are about putting the viewer in the place of humanity’s first contact with the world around them. Seeing one of his paintings makes the viewer think that the world had drummed its rhythm eons before, and they are seeing it for the first time after waking from a dream.

In Evan’s work, large portraits wearing flowers, plants, and unlikely animals as headdresses take us back to when humans first explored the thought-provoking ideas of persona and how we chose to present ourselves to the world.

No matter if it is viewing a landscape with shapes, sun, or shadow or a person adorned with beautiful objects to enhance their status, both artists create works about people. Perhaps that is why the continuity of generations of painters is so significant in the show and the Fitzgerald family. Yes, each generation sees things differently, but when the work moves through the years, like the unfolding of a scroll, it is all about people and how they perceive the beauty of the world around them.


Both Fitzgeralds are looking for meaning by creating. They are exploring when they put paint on canvas or wood. Paraphrasing Socrates, it is the examined life that is most worth living. And they, like the others before them, are continuing the search. These two artists are inviting us all to join in the journey. 

Experience the work of Kevin and Evan Fitzgerald
Through July 29: Points of Departure II, Troika Gallery, Easton—(Kevin-Solo)
August: Generations in Art, Art League of Ocean City—(Kevin & Evan)

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