Exhibit features Ernie Barnes, football player turned artist

MARTHA WAGGONER (Associated Press)
The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- When Ernie Barnes played with the San Diego Chargers, his teammates nicknamed him ''Big Rembrandt'' because he was always scribbling on pieces of paper.

After he retired, he went on to become a famous painter. His ''Sugar Shack'' painting was on the cover of a Marvin Gaye album and was used in the closing credits of the sitcom ''Good Times.''

Now the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh is exhibiting 38 of his paintings.

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Many aren't known because Barnes often painted for people who commissioned his work.

Barnes played professional football in the 1960s before pursuing his art career. He's famous for his elongated figures of African-Americans in uplifting scenes.

The exhibit is the first since he died at age 70 in 2009. It continues through March 3.

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