History of the School
By Michael Duffy, Professor, Art History
From its beginnings in 1909-1910, the art program was capably shaped by Kate Watkins Lewis, one of the initial ten faculty chosen by the Executive Committee of the ECTTS Board of Trustees to head the new school’s first academic year. Former Governor Thomas Jarvis, who chaired the Executive Committee, recalled that Lewis had impressed him by her ability to educate students in the practice and appreciation of art during her several years in the Greenville public schools. A native of Virginia, Lewis spent most of her life in North Carolina, attending Peace Institute in Raleigh, one of the oldest institutions of higher education for women in the U.S. She earned a reputation for excellence, teaching in the Henderson and Goldsboro public schools not long after college, and specialized in the fifth and sixth grades. During her years of teaching at East Carolina, she frequently participated in summer training programs for teachers, at the Froehlich School of Industrial Art in Chicago; the Boothbay Studios Summer Art School, Boothbay Maine; the innovative New York School of Fine and Applied Art, in Greenwich Village, New York, and the state universities of Virginia and Tennessee.
For the first two years, Lewis taught drawing classes on campus three days per week, and spent the remainder of her busy six-day schedule teaching in Greenville city schools. In the first eleven years of the Training School’s history, drawing was taught to students two hours per week each quarter over the course of their studies, comparable to the time spent with music. In 1916 basketry was substituted for drawing in the second year of coursework. During the early years, the all-important classes in drawing, according to the ECTTS Catalogue, were designed to give prospective teachers of primary and grammar grades “particular knowledge of drawing” and to “train the mind, the eye and the hand to work together—to cultivate habits of thought and observation and to create an appreciation of the beautiful.” The teaching of drawing in the public schools for the physical and moral improvement of young people was consistent with turn-of-the-century progressive education in America. The curriculum was enhanced in 1921, the first year of East Carolina’s new status as a degree-granting four-year teacher’s college. Industrial Art replaced Drawing as the title of the art program to reflect a more practical program that extended beyond the aims of teaching to include additional courses in color and design, lettering and design (costume and interior), and picture study. In The Teachers College Quarterly Volume 10 (January-March, 1923), Lewis stated that “in the Industrial Art Department we are trying to teach practical art rather than fine art, a movement which is spreading over the United States today. We wish to reach the public by teaching dissemination and appreciation to every child. We are preparing the children for everyday living.”
“We recognized the fact that every child or adult must be a designer whether he realizes it or not; he designs every time he writes a page, buys a costume, chooses a tie, hangs a picture, or arranges the furniture in the room…We realize that the children of today are to be the consumers and producers of tomorrow. We hope to raise the quality of American products by helping all children to have the power to choose only the things which are in good taste.” (207-8)
This approach followed the national trend to interpret art more broadly as a form of expression with economic, cultural and aesthetic benefits for productive members of society. In 1938 Lewis navigated the split in art instruction between the areas of art education and industrial art, which became separate departments in 1939. The Department of Art Education took the lead in the 1940s, emphasizing creativity, art appreciation, and studio art training with advanced courses in design and painting. New courses were developed in commercial design, graphic arts, and sculpture. The unit was renamed the Department of Art in 1944.
Lewis had taught alongside of nine different individuals in a two-faculty art program over the course of 25 years. In the 1920s, Dorothy Chamberlain, Ruth Bonnewitz and Hazel Moore joined Lewis in teaching art courses. In the 1930s, Marjorie Patchell, Dorothy Schnyder and William McHenry taught in the Public School Art program. Alma Sparger, Vida Wicks, Madelon Powers and Jean Lane, all of whom had studied at Columbia University, were added in the early to middle 1940s. Lewis, who designed the college seal, had earned a reputation in the state as a pioneer in elementary school art and one who, together with her students, helped to raise the level of art instruction in state public schools.
On the eve of Lewis’s retirement in 1946, two events occurred which pointed the way to the future. First, courses were listed by sections, which included art education, design, drawing and painting, ceramics and sculpture, and art history. Second, the News Bureau recorded for the first time a very large show representative of students in the Departments of Art and Industrial Arts. 150 pieces of artwork displayed in four rooms in Austin Building would illustrate the variety of work being done by students. One could see etching, hand-wrought jewelry, tooled plaques, woodwork and clay modeling, most of which had been taught only within the past three or four years. In the later 1940s the Art Department enjoyed the use of space that was simple and limited to basic needs: three classrooms and an office on the second floor of Austin. By the middle 1950s, the department acquired additional space and new equipment in the basement of Austin.
During summer of 1959, months before the Department of Art was to move into the long wing of the third floor of the new Rawl Classroom Building, a dedicated space was created for a newly named Kate W. Lewis Art Gallery. It was established at the intersection of the two hallways, in a large room the size of two offices and with two doorway entrances. This was a fitting tribute to Lewis who supported student exhibitions in her later years.
Wellington B. Gray arrived in Greenville during the summer of 1956 to assume the chair of the Department of Art. A native of Albany New York, Gray recently earned a doctorate in Art Education from New York University and completed two years of experience directing Art Education at Edinboro State College, near Erie, Pennsylvania. Within the early years of his administration, Gray demonstrated his commitment to strengthening the design program. In the second year, he increased the available design courses from six to nine, although the additional courses relating to the theater, home and jewelry were not new. William Persick came the same year as Gray to join Gordon and Neel on the faculty. With the additional hiring of Charles Carter, Thomas Flowers and Paul Minnis in 1958, the studio arts gained considerable breadth.
When in the following year the Department of Art moved into the new Rawl Building, the art curriculum was greatly expanded to take on a professional organization, depth, and developmental course of study that resembles the present curricular structure. In the design area, nine courses were increased to twelve with the addition of lettering design and intermediate design. The drawing area was increased from two to five courses with the addition of advanced figure drawing and two illustration courses. In 1959 graphic arts was taken out of the painting area, as a single course, and established as a new graphic arts area with six levels of studio courses. Painting, ceramics and sculpture were organized in the same way. In the area called art history and appreciation, the curriculum was similarly expanded to twice its former size. Studio art concentrations were defined by individual media and processes, where craft and fine art concerns were brought together with attention to materials, skills, technical knowledge, problem-solving, creativity, presentation, history and criticism—a trend among large art programs in the U.S., which was encouraged by the example and influence of the pre-World War II Bauhaus art school in Germany.
The exhibition of artwork was an important part of life in the Department. Wellington Gray made students responsible for showing artwork, and students went all out in response to this directive. Seniors were expected in their final year to hold a week-long exhibition in the Kate Lewis Gallery, and deliver to the ECC News Bureau for press release their show announcements. The first art senior show was held by Janet Hill in December 1957 in the old Austin college art gallery.
The spacious hallways on the third floor, known as the Hallway Gallery, as well as the display cases in the first floor lobby of Rawl were regularly filled with artwork. The Hallway Gallery and often the display cabinets downstairs were occupied with traveling exhibitions. There were three or four shows of nationally known artists or organizations exhibited each year. Building upon Paul Running’s increased number of exhibitions in 1954 and 1955, Gray set up an exhibition series for 1956-1957 and 1957-1958. The art faculty show kicked off the school year cycle and was advertised in the press releases for its “varying ideas and directions of thought ” and in 1960, according to the Department, was planned “to help students of art at the college to evaluate and choose a direction that will suit their individual needs.” The show utilized the available exhibition space as well as an outdoor area near the building entrance. The school year ended with the student exhibition in May, which likewise took up the exhibiting space inside Rawl and outside the entrance. The annual faculty and student exhibitions were formally set up during the 1956-1957 school year in October and May, respectively.
In 1960, Gray established the commercial art area, and included existing courses from design such as lettering, illustration and costume illustration. He also created new courses for this area like advertising, commercial art techniques, photographic composition, and principles of advertising. In the following year, two additional courses in photography and marketing were added. An advertising designer himself, Gray took a personal interest early on in developing a professional program in this area, in which he would have the opportunity to teach the commercial art courses.
Important milestones for the ECC art program were reached in the years 1962 and 1963. On October 26, 1962, the Board of Trustees met in Greenville and converted the Departments of Art and Music into Schools, which, according to the two program heads, Wellington Gray and Earl Beach, would result in greater recognition by professional organizations and would bring to ECC more students with considerable talent and training. The five original schools (nursing, business, education, art and music) were first recognized in the 1965-1966 ECC Bulletin. In May 1963 Gray learned that the National Association of Schools of Art had just determined that the ECC School of Art was acceptable for associate membership in its organization. He attended the NASA meeting at Syracuse in October, where a vote of acceptance assured East Carolina’s membership into the prestigious organization. The new BFA and MFA fine arts degrees were recommended for authorization on June 14, 1963 by the Educational Programs and Policies Committee of the State Board of Higher Education, and were first advertised in the 1964-1965 Bulletin. NASA visited East Carolina in spring 1965, and its Admissions and Accreditation Committee notified Gray and Jenkins of its endorsement of the ECU School of Art for full membership.
The School of Art thus became the forty-first member of NASA, the only member in the three-state area of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. It was the fourth school in the southeast region to be accredited by NASA–the other three accredited art programs were in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
Another important feature of the contemporary School of Art was the solidification of the foundation curriculum in 1964 with new courses added to the first year of instruction. One advanced course in design and two advanced drawing courses were created as a continuation of color and design, drawing and figure drawing, respectively. The survey courses in graphic arts, painting, ceramics, sculpture and commercial art were likewise emphasized. Some faculty believed that the survey courses would allow students to get a good look at different studio areas and, together with art electives, could help justify the hiring of additional faculty in the different area programs. The surveys would also effectively meet the new requirements for the certification of public school art teachers, notes William Holley, Professor of Art Education. The emphasis on art foundations was part of a generally perceived need during the early 1960s in large art departments of the U.S. to systematically educate students at the basic levels.
Tran Gordley and Wes Crawley were hired in 1959, the year that the Department of Art was preparing to move into the Rawl Building. Gordley, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received his MFA from the University of Oklahoma and taught art in Missouri for two years before arriving at ECU to teach painting. Tran and his wife Marilyn, who was hired in 1964 to teach in the department, were active exhibitors in North Carolina and throughout the Midwest region. Tran Gordley had also undertaken doctoral studies at Ohio State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His book reviews were also evidence of his scholarly interests. He was an active contributor to the Greenville Museum of Art. Gordley served as exhibits director for the Rawl Gallery and felt that Gray had solidified a departmental tradition by requiring students to take responsibility for publicizing and installing their senior exhibitions. He also credited Gray with paving the way for the future through his initiatives in creating multi-level coursework in the new concentrations, and in pursuing for the department new spaces for the expanding needs of its faculty. “The most exciting thoughts and ideas occur when painting,” Tran Gordley wrote about his art. “Making a painting is like taking a journey. Each stage of development is like turning a corner and experiencing a new vista. The search for beauty of line, form and color is a never-ending process. Discovering a new yet elusive image presents constant challenges.” Tran and Marilyn trained during the Abstract Expressionist period, “and both of us,” Tran Gordley recalled, “like figurative elements in our work. I guess you could call us figurative expressionists.” He has been described as a solid painter who brought to the school a kind of figurative expressionism grounded in good composition. His paintings were vibrant and full of movement. Many years after his retirement Tran and Marilyn Gordley continued to send work back to ECU for faculty exhibitions.
Wes Crawley was hired by Wellington Gray in 1959 to help develop the burgeoning sculpture program in the Department of Art. A native of both Ohio and northern Illinois, he came to East Carolina with three years art teaching experience in the Lane County Public Schools in western Oregon and also had experience as an instructor of sculpture at the University of Oregon Art Department. Not only did he possess MS degrees in art education and studio arts from Oregon, but he already had a reputation as an exhibiting artist in the San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle metropolitan areas. He began teaching sculpture on the third floor of the new Rawl Building, but found it difficult to carry sculptural materials up and down three flights of stairs. In his second year at ECC, he moved to the basement of the East Cafeteria Building, across the street from old Austin, at that time the main classroom building on campus. In his early years at ECC, he set the stage for students to work on a large scale and in a variety of materials. Colleagues have credited him with being the first professional sculptor at ECC.
After serving one year as head of the sculptor program, the area went from four to twelve majors and about sixty enrolled students. Crawley publicly acknowledged after the first year that part of this steady growth was due to the expansion of the department and college as well as to the growing popularity of sculpture on the national level. In the second year, Crawley devoted more time to studio courses and less to art education, believing that the instructor’s undivided attention to tutoring in the art itself, was the most effective use of his time. He was also a strong advocate for the professional development of the successful teacher who “must have ample time to work…on his own…outside class hours.” According to Crawley, a good instructor was also a working artist who had time to explore his medium. Crawley believed that teaching demanded diversity, and he felt that his own work in a variety of materials made him a better teacher. Crawley, the sculptor, achieved critical success in Eastern North Carolina during the middle 1960s, highlighted by two installations: first, a solo exhibition in 1964 at the Greenville Art Center and second, a 1965 sculpture installation for the foyer of People’s Bank & Trust in Rocky Mount. Crawley preferred the human figure over abstract design, believing that the figure accomplished better sculpture’s traditional aim of telling the story of humankind. In 1966, Crawley decided to teach in the figure drawing area where he felt that he would have a better opportunity to pursue the human figure as a motif in space and often with a metaphorical understanding. At the same time, he continued to work in a variety of casting materials, including bronze, painted plaster, cast stone and paper. He was considered by many to be a meticulous modeler and mold maker, and preferred to send out his molds to be cast in bronze or stone. He was especially remembered for his enthusiasm in teaching and his abiding love of the human form. He was generous with his time, mentoring younger faculty or spending time with students to improve their drawing skills. In the classroom he was animated and serious, and expected students to do the highest quality of work. He expected students to consult the Old Masters, and reassured them that he would go to bat for them.
Donald Sexauer was hired in 1960 to oversee the newly organized and expanded graphic arts program. A native of Pennsylvania, he received his MA from Kent State University and had just completed three years of experience as an art teacher in the Madison local schools, Madison, Ohio. Sexauer headed the graphic arts program, whose name was soon changed to printmaking. A new organizational chart of curriculum areas and faculty responsibilities was prepared sometime in 1965 as a result of the granting of School status to the Department of Art. Painting and Printmaking was now one of five general School of Art divisions, while Printmaking was considered one of the nine department subdivisions, which included art education, drawing and painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, interior design, commercial art, and art history. At this time, Donald Sexauer became a strong advocate of faculty governance at East Carolina College, and was one of 12 members of the 1964-1965 Constitution Committee that created the Faculty Senate, which convened for the first time in March 1965. He continued to be a champion for faculty governance when he was Chair of the Faculty in the middle 1990s and inspired junior faculty to serve the University.
In July 1968, Sexauer spoke to the Daily Reflector of the success of the Printmaking Department’s nine-month traveling show to the cities of North Carolina, which he considered an important effort in taking art to the people. Sexauer preferred the intaglio process at this point, since it allows the artist to rework the plates until he or she achieves the desired effects. He considered it a reverse process where the separate plates for each color are made after making the key plate on copper, which contains the lines and the dark values.
In August 1970 Sexauer was invited by the Chief of the Office of Military History to tour South Vietnam, observing, photographing and drawing activity in the field, which resulted in a folio collection of engravings for the Army. In September 1977, he held a one-person retrospective in the Gray Gallery, entitled Images of Man, which displayed a very large and diverse body of work that showed the development of his subject matter and techniques for the period 1966-1977, a time when the artist developed a national reputation. In the 1970s and 1980s, Sexauer exhibited regularly in the South and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., having become well known in the Society of American Graphic Artists. His work can be found in many important public collections. As with Tran Gordley, he served the School for a brief time in the late 1970s as Acting Dean after the unexpected passing of Wellington Gray. His wide-ranging subject matter included literature, film, society, politics and the family. In 1991 Sexauer won the ECU Alumni Association Awards for Excellence in Teaching. As an artist, he believed that he had to be honest with himself in creating artwork that the viewer would receive and interpret on his own terms.
Emily Farnham was hired in 1962. She came with 26 years of teaching experience, teaching art and art history at the college level, with half that time at the level of assistant professor. A native of Kent Ohio, Farnham had taken painter Hans Hoffman’s summer classes for three years and then returned to school to complete her PhD in art history at Ohio State University. In January 1966, she had a large retrospective of her oil paintings and drawings in the Rawl third-floor hallway gallery. She was chair of the Art History Department, and was one of the earliest promoters of Non-Western art at ECC. In 1970 and 1971, she participated in the interdisciplinary African Symposium, having served as a member of the campus-wide African Studies Committee, and loaning work for the event from her own collection. In 1971, she was acknowledged for her publication of a book on Charles Demuth and the critical praise it had garnered. The book in fact brought her into personal contact with Marcel Duchamp, Stuart Davis, and William Carlos Williams. From 1973 to 1980, she was on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Museum of Art. Farnham said that she returned to teaching from a brief stint as a commercial artist since she missed the opportunity to do creative work and to learn new things while she was teaching. “I keep changing and learning,” she said. “The young people are very challenging and stimulating to be with.”
The distinguished American landscape painter, Francis W. Speight, a native of Bertie County, North Carolina, was hired by President Leo Jenkins as the first artist-in-residence in 1961. After a 36-year career teaching painting and drawing at the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Speight decided to reconnect with North Carolina upon the installation of a major February 1961 retrospective of his work at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The intervention of Robert L. Humbert of Greenville, who was president of the North Carolina State Art Society, and a meeting with President Jenkins led to his initial nine-month appointment at ECC. Two years as an artist-in-resident was followed in 1963 by a half-time teaching position, which continued until Speight’s retirement in 1976. He managed to return to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to teach in summer school and to exhibit his work. In his 2002 book, The Privilege to Paint: The Lives of Francis Speight and Sarah Blakeslee (Greenville Museum of Art, 2002), Maurice York points out that Speight provided a strong voice for traditional, representational art that complemented the abstraction and expressionist currents prevalent in the Department and School of Art. Speight agreed to meet and work with students at his Eighth Street residence in order to further their study and motivate them.
Speight held a large exhibition of his work in April 1962 in the Rawl Building hallway gallery that was especially noteworthy for the large number of visitors from different parts of the state. Wake Forest College awarded him with an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters (1962). Speight received the first North Carolina Medal for Achievement in the Fine Arts (1964). Upon receiving the coveted O. Max Gardner Award in 1975, Speight talked about his work: “Drawing and painting are good ways to learn to see. But as much as I depend on my eye, nothing measures deep space than the bobwhite’s distant call coming across a summer field…My interest has been in painting recognizable objects with realistic colors, or colors that fit my purpose, often with dramatic light and shadow…Somewhere along the way I was made aware of eroding earth and smoke crowding in on man’s dwelling place.”
Robert Edmiston was hired in 1962 to meet the growing needs of a sculpture program with an expanding curriculum and an increasing student enrollment. Edmiston was a native of Chickashaw, Oklahoma with an MFA from the University of Oklahoma. He was a successful and award-winning exhibiting artist in Oklahoma and Iowa when he was Director of Education at the Des Moines Art Center in the period 1958-62. After his first year of teaching at ECC, Edmiston was involved in large sculptural commissions: the first a 4½ foot high forged and welded steel relief sculpture made to introduce a one-person sculpture exhibition along the patio wall at Maxwell Galleries in San Francisco. The second was an 8-foot high copper wall relief sculpture called Parhelion with a vibrant silver-nickel finish for the east wall in Wachovia Bank & Trust’s new High Point building. Edmiston was enthusiastic that institutions like Wachovia Bank were interested in collecting and exhibiting art, a “pattern,” Edmiston recalled, “already established in other areas.” He continued fabricate steel structural elements associated with contemporary industry. In the 1980s, Edmiston was a strong supporter of the recently expended first-year Foundations curriculum.
Edmiston participated in a discussion in the School of Art in the 1970s about introducing artwork across campus. His Windsong (1975) on the plaza outside the Fletcher Music Hall, was the first important site-specific artwork installed on University grounds. Dean Edward Levine in 1985 revitalized this project by supporting Andrea Blum and Kinji Akagawa to construct entrance-ways and a stage near the Art Center. In 1995, the sculpture area began developing a sculpture park in front of the building. Edmiston’s bronze portrait head of President Leo Jenkins was installed in the new Art Building’s entrance lobby at the building’s formal dedication on April 24, 1977 as the Leo W. Jenkins Art Center. In addition to large commissioned sculpture for the Women and Children’s Clinic, Odessa, Texas; interior sculpture for Banker’s Trust, Des Moines, Iowa, and exterior sculpture of Charles A. Cannon at Wingate College Campus, Wingate, Edmiston had a number of one-person exhibitions at significant venues like the Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas; the Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Okla.; the Des Moines Art Center in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem.
William Holley joined the Art Education Program in 1964. A native of Wilmington, North Carolina, he had received his MA from East Carolina and was an experienced art teacher and counselor in the Roanoke Virginia public schools, from 1959 to 1964. Holley officially became chair of the Art Education Department in 1970, when he was a doctoral candidate at Pennsylvania State University, and served in this capacity for about 28 years before his retirement in 1999. He was active in the art education associations of Virginia, and then North Carolina. During the 1960s and 1970s, Holley widely exhibited welded steel sculpture and hard-edged acrylic paintings. The School of Art hosted workshops for teachers on topics of art making and pedagogy. Holley became a very talented water colorist, and was very active in the North Carolina Watercolor Society, serving as president in 1980-82. He received many awards for his watercolors and is represented in corporate/institutional collections and numerous private collections. Holly encouraged students to explore different art media and was supportive of the School’s requirement that art students take three survey courses. Holly was chair or coordinator of Art Education in the School of Art from 1968 to 1996.
John Satterfield arrived at ECU in 1967 to teach in a metalsmithing program that was recently restructured. He and his wife Dorothy had run a design studio in their home state of Florida and served in the Peace Corps before coming to Greenville. Satterfield was a recent graduate of the established metalsmithing program at the University of Kansas, headed by distinguished metalsmith Carlyle Smith. Robert Ebendorf recalls that Satterfield conducted his first jewelry classes on the other side of campus in what was the abandoned swimming pool, the new location for the jewelry and metalsmithing program. Satterfield hit his stride in the 1970s in achieving a national reputation as an exhibiting artist while creating a first rate metals program. In 1977 as part of a School-wide curriculum expansion in the areas of foundations and design, new courses in metals, wood and textiles were created to include enameling, metalsmithing as well as special studies courses in metals, wood, fabric design and weaving. In the 1977-1978 school year, the curriculum areas of wood design, metal design, textile design and weaving design were listed separately in the Bulletin for the first time.
In 1974 Satterfield won a purchase award at the Renwick Museum and in 1979 was among forty-one American goldsmiths selected to show work in the SNAG European exhibition, held in Pforzheim, Germany. A Piedmont Purchase exhibition award at the Mint Museum in 1978, was followed by a Southern Arts Federation traveling exhibition on Southeastern goldsmiths. In 1978, Satterfield made a ceremonial mace featuring a fluorite crystal, gold cage and hammered silver shaft that was to be used in the ceremony for the installation of President Thomas Brewer. At his presentation for 1997 winners of the Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award, Satterfield said: “I start my beginning class with a question, ‘What are you doing here?’ I answer my question by telling students that this is an ‘outward bound’ class. If they work in a diligent manner with reasonable intelligence, their gain will be confidence in the ability to tackle and succeed in other areas of the unknown. If consistent, they also may begin a habit of self-directed research and inquiry. I also tell them that there are two major tragedies of life: 1) you die before you learn everything you want to learn, and 2) maybe a worse tragedy—you learn everything you want to learn before you die.”
Frances P. Daugherty arrived in 1968 when Emily Farnham was chair of the art history department. The hiring of Daugherty in 1968 and the addition of Lloyd Benjamin and Patricia Roetzel in 1970, all recently trained specialists with the terminal PhD degree in art, was further evidence of the department’s commitment to a broad-based art curriculum where art history and criticism would have a significant presence in both undergraduate and graduate education. The B.A. in art history was established in 1969, while the B.A. in community arts management was begun the following year. Daugherty was chair and then area coordinator of a three- or four-faculty area from the later 1970s until 1996, maintaining with her colleagues a strong curriculum in Western art history while covering newer non-Western areas of interest. Daugherty collaborated on the major Gray Gallery exhibition and its catalogue, Robert Lee Humber: A Collector Creates, (1996), writing the final extended essay.
Francis Daugherty was a very warm and enthusiastic colleague and teacher who challenged her students to do their best work. She was devoted to effective teaching and the classroom environment. Daugherty organized field trips to museums, encouraging students in her survey classes to participate. She maintained a good rapport with faculty throughout the School, and sought the camaraderie of colleagues in her discipline, either at conferences or during school visits. She became a good steward of the art history program, navigating the area through the changing priorities of the school, university, and accrediting organizations.
Edward Reep was hired as an artist-in-residence in 1970. As with Speight, he had a long career and a national reputation as an artist. He came to ECU upon completing a 19-year term as an art instructor at the Chouinard Institute of Art, restructured as the California Institute of the Arts, in Los Angeles. His reputation was established during World War II when as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, he became an Official War Artist Correspondent and Official War Photographer. He was the officer in charge of official war artists in the Mediterranean theater. Reep fought in the battles and campaigns of Rome, Arno, Naples, Foggia, North Apennines and the Po Valley, and produced a body of work that resides in the Pentagon and the Army Art Archives. He received the Bronze Star Medal for Bravery and the European African Middle Eastern Theater Service Medal with four bronze battle stars. He concluded his military career with the rank of captain and supervised the design and publication of the Official Fifth Army History.
His widely acclaimed book, The Content of Watercolor had just been published when he arrived on campus and was revised before he left Greenville in 1985. In the summer 1970, Reep was commissioned by the U.S. Army to paint impressions of the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Wall, which supplied him with material for his paintings. Reep initially proposed using the long first-floor hallway of Whichard Building as the University Art Gallery. From 1972 through 1977 the space was used as an art gallery, with Reep serving as its first director. He taught courses in the newly reorganized Foundations Program, and was an important member of the Ruckus Gang that included Reep, Ray Elmore, Art Haney and Paul Hartley, junior faculty who were friends and collaborators. Reep was known to students and faculty for his personal and engaging style of teaching, his passion and bluntness, his respect for students, and his considerable knowledge of the medium of watercolor painting. He continued to maintain communications with faculty and students after his retirement from ECU in 1985.
Ray Elmore was hired in 1972, after having taught for four years at the University of New Hampshire. He arrived at ECU in the midst of a major School enrollment increase and an expansion of curriculum and facilities that was partly spurred by ECU’s recent establishment as a regional University. In the fall of 1972, construction on the new art building had begun. The School of Art was using the third floor of Rawl primarily for offices and storerooms with classroom space located in five different buildings across campus, including the East Cafeteria, the Buccaneer Cafeteria Room, the Y-Hut, Joyner Library, and the Christenbury Memorial Gymnasium. Painting studios were set up in the Slay Annex. “We weren’t the only newcomers in the department,” Christine Elmore recalls, “as several men, who were to become his greatest friends, arrived the same year. The friendships formed and they worked and played together and eventually concocted the Ruckus Gang. There was a lot of team teaching and critiques of student work. Problems for classes were done many times in collaboration. The students were fired up and some of the best student work came from those days and those teachers.”
Elmore succeeded Reep as the Chair of Gallery Exhibitions, and the Whichard hallway galleries were regularly used until 1977. Junior faculty like Elmore were impacted by the development in 1975 of the two new areas, Foundation-Design and Foundation-Drawing, which were created at that time because the new Jenkins Art Building offered additional space for studio classrooms and the coordination of courses by area. Elmore participated in the fall semester Art Awareness Day and subsequent Open House daylong activities, initiated in 1980 when Richard Laing was Dean. He offered a mixed media workshop that continued to remain very popular.
“His early pencil drawings were technical and very delicate,” Christine Elmore observes. “His paintings were realistic and meticulously crafted. He experimented with materials as a basis for the textures of his drawings and paintings using found objects and transfer mediums. He produced work highlighting the despair of the Native Americans as a result of government greed. He used printmaking, collage and paint to illustrate the dignity the native peoples maintained in the face of overwhelming forces and unimaginable cruelty…His final works were collages using found objects and color. He would often find flattened tops in the roadways and stop to pick them up for future artworks.”
As a teacher, Elmore was passionate, honest, persuasive, and won students over with his dedication, warmth and humor. He was well known for his assignments and critiques, which thoroughly challenged students to do their best work. His great understanding of and sensitivity to a range of techniques and materials was communicated in his teaching and is present in his artwork, where his vision, draftsmanship and construction impressively come together.
Art Haney was hired in 1973, when the new Jenkins Art Building was under construction. A recent MFA graduate of the prestigious ceramics area at Alfred University, he taught full time in the Ceramics Department at ECU. Gail Haney states that he was remembered for his skill and humor in the classroom: “his ability to demonstrate throwing clay on the potter’s wheel without getting a drop of clay on his clothes or shoes. He made the classes fun.” In August 1984, Haney was appointed assistant dean by the new head of the Art School, Edward Levine. He remained in that position as assistant and then associate dean, teaching one course per semester, until his retirement in 2006. He served in that capacity under Edward Levine, Erwin Hester, Michael Dorsey, and Richard Tichich. He was known to many faculty to be very conscientious and hard working in his consideration of the annual budget, the physical spaces and security of Jenkins Art Center, and student retention. He was supportive of visiting artist funding and scheduling, and also faculty travel opportunities. He also served as Interim Dean and then Director, during searches. “While in Administration his personal work moved from clay to glass,” Gail Haney recalls. “He worked in stained glass, glass mosaics, sandblasting, fused and slumped glass, and kiln formed glass. “Art was the teacher many students may have feared at first, but a semester with him gave them invaluable knowledge in technical, theoretical, and practical aspects of ceramics,” Seo Eo has observed. “Art was brutally direct with his constructive criticism, but most of all, his sense of humor, genuine care for the students, and the glitter-filled magic wand made the Art experience complete.”
Paul Hartley was initially hired in 1970 and then brought back as assistant professor of painting in 1975, the second year that the painting faculty moved into the west wing of the new Jenkins Art Building. In August 1982 Hartley, an associate professor at the time, was appointed by Dean Richard Laing as chair of the newly formed Department of Fine Arts, which included painting and drawing, sculpture, printmaking, art education and art history, an organization that continued into the early 1990s. He was head of the painting area from the 1980s until his retirement. Hartley was a prolific painter, appearing in 25 solo exhibitions and at least 75 group exhibitions. He is represented in many important collections in the state and region, including the Witherspoon, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the Cameron, the North Carolina Museum of Art, Bank of America, and the National Institutes of Health. Lee Hansley, who represented him in his Raleigh gallery, believed that Hartley taught more art students than anyone else in the UNC System. Hartley had good judgment and good interpersonal communication skills, knowing when and what to say to students about their work. He was calm, soft spoken and knew how to offer encouragement while providing criticism. He was often sought out as the person to consult for solving problems and settling issues. He worked with students, respecting their points of view, and pushing them beyond their comfort zone. He was good at analyzing, and often utilized composition to work through problems with students.
Hartley’s own artwork was complex, and often borrowed from different sources, combining real and abstract elements. Students felt encouraged by Hartley’s interest in different historical styles to pursue their own path. “I try to make things with enough substance to be seen as something more than marks and pigment on paper or canvas, something with its own specialty,” Hartley said about his work. “My own interest is not in representing nature or the real world, but in creating something with enough of nature’s attributes, its visual complexity, to engage the viewer in really looking. I hope the viewer will respond to the arrangement of what is seen and feel something, however small. Getting at this is all a perpetual problem, that presents itself anew in every work, and that, if it is to be even partially solved, demands some insight as well as an ongoing attempt to understand the way that people see and appreciate the order of things. As a painter and teacher, this provides absorbing study.”
Richard Laing was hired in May 1979 to serve as Dean of the School of Art. He was well qualified to follow Wellington Gray in that role, since Laing was a highly experienced administrator with a doctorate in Art Education, a productive artist in various media, and a writer. He had served as Chair of the Art Department at Edinboro State College since 1972, after having headed the Ball State Art Department for four years. Laing was very interested in recruitment and retention, and supported the establishment of Art Awareness Day in 1980, a high school recruitment initiative that followed the successful College Day and Senior Day daylong recruitment events that were inaugurated in the middle 1960s and held in the Rawl Building. In October 1980, 200 students attended the daylong program of demonstrations, lectures and tours, while in November 1983 more than 350 students from twenty North Carolina high schools preregistered for the event. The Art Awareness Day recruitment drives continued through the 1990s on a grand scale.
Moved to strengthen the bonds of friendship and support between the ECU art programs and the Greenville community, Laing founded the Friends of Art as a donor and support group for the School, and became a guiding force in the new group’s activities. Again there was a precedent at East Carolina, begun during the 1940s and continued into the 1960s by an organization known as the East Carolina Art Club and later the East Carolina Art Society, that sponsored art activities off campus and helped promote an awareness of educational programs and events on the East Carolina campus. The Friends of Art became the Art Enthusiasts under Laing’s successor, Edward Levine, when the group was reorganized to reflect a more active participatory role in sponsored events and a broader-based membership.
Laing wanted students to have more opportunities to observe art traditions and trends in different countries. Tran Gordley had directed a summer program abroad at various times in the 1960s and 1970s, with Leon Jacobsen and then Lloyd Benjamin offering summer European tours in the 1960s and 1970s respectively. In summer 1983, Laing and Michael Voors, with additional support from the Division of Continuing Education, led a month-long studio art program that offered student credit. The group of art students and teachers traveled for three weeks and visited museums, galleries, and historic sites in Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Italy and were expected to complete a final project based on their experiences. Laing promoted other events that fostered global awareness in students, including traveling exhibitions in the Gray Gallery as well as visiting artist lectures and workshops, an activity that was carried out at different times during the 1970s by studio areas of the Visual Arts Forum. For example, Laing sponsored a visit and series of activities by internationally recognized American textile designer, Jack Lenor Larsen.
Midway through his term as dean, in August 1982, Laing announced the administrative reorganization of the School of Art from nine small units to two large departments of Fine Arts and of Design, and the creation of a Foundations Program Coordinator. Paul Hartley, Charles Chamberlain, and Phil Phillips, respectively, were named to fill those positions. Laing stated that this streamlined organization of the School’s different programs was necessary for the School to function effectively.
Abdul-Shakoor Farhadi was hired in 1986 by Edward Levine, after the establishment in 1984 of an Environmental Design program concentration within the Communications Arts Area. With a Master of Architecture from North Carolina and experience in architectural design, Farhadi was the first professor of architecture in the School of Art. Dean Levine was actively involved in establishing a Design Group in 1987-1988 among people inside and outside the university that was dedicated to bringing meaningful design to people with special needs. Students in the environmental design track of communication arts designed new spaces, furnishings and other features for interior rooms and utilities, access points and outdoor facilities. These program activities and initiatives continued through the 1990s.
Farhadi was instrumental in the renovation of Uptown Greenville and his other pro bono contributions to eastern North Carolina communities included downtown revitalization projects for Washington, Plymouth, Hertford, and Belhaven. At Belhaven, for example, he used old photos of the downtown to create façade renderings which recapture the history of the town. He then worked with several business owners to create floor plans for the second floors of their individual buildings. His designs for low income housing for refugees were adopted by the United Nations. Farhadi designed buildings and playgrounds for people with disabilities. He also designed over ten Islamic Centers throughout the South, including in Greenville, Raleigh, Durham and Columbia. Farhadi was a passionate teacher, expressing dedication to his subject, and displaying warmth, great generosity and good humor to his students and colleagues.