KEEPING THE FAITH

PEOPLE On most days you’ll likely find REGGIE DUPARD at his Images of Color Art Gallery in Old Town Shopping Center, not far from SMU’s Ownby Stadium, There, from 1982-1985, the running back from south Louisiana brought the Mustangs gridiron glory. After college he joined the New England Patriots as a first-round draft pick.

Selling original and limited edition ethnic art isn’t life after football for Dupard, but a livelihood he chose instead of football. A five-year pro career ended last year with Dupard forsaking the NFL and his second team, the Washington Redskins, for a spiritual calling beyond the football field.

“The Lord was telling me to do something else with my life,” Dupard, 28, explains. “And when I gave my life to him and new faith, it meant football had to go.”

Dupard’s Seventh Day Adventist faith forbids all work or play on the Sabbath-which falls between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. That meant no playing or practicing with NFL comrades. So Dupard and his wife, LACHANM, looked for another way to make a living. They considered a fast-food franchise, a McDonald’s or a Subway. But most franchises require menu offerings of pork-another evil, according to the faith. Then came a better idea. Since the couple had a longstanding interest in ethnic art, and LaChanda had built a loyal clientele as a part-time art broker, Images of Color was the logical result.

Images of Color features originals and limited editions from such local and area artists as Othello Beck, Johnice Parker, Ernie Barnes and Cecil Bernard, and internationally acclaimed artists like William Tolliver of Atlanta and Jacob Lawrence of Seattle, whose eight-piece “Genesis” capsulizes the earth’s creation. The limited edition set (there are 22 available) sells for $16,000.

“There aren’t many jobs where you can work at educating and uplifting a race,” says Reggie. “It’s clean, it’s giving something back, and it’s something we enjoy doing together every day.”

Except, of course, on the Sabbath.

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