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April 3-28, 2006

Exhibit viewing: noon-2 p.m., April 23, Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Gallery

Alumni presentation and reception: 2 p.m., April 23, J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom

Produced by the Office of University Relations

Design by Publications Assistant Melinda Kelsey

Photos by University Photographer Darren Whitley

Digital Imaging by Assistant Photographer Scott Gibson

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Kim Spradling Professor, Chairperson, Department of Art Ten…22…35 years; time passed, and the number of years mounted. So did the number of students and faculty colleagues who came to know Russ Schmaljohn. At the time of his retirement, he had spent around 50 percent of his life, and a great deal of his energy, at Northwest. So much time, so much energy, so much given to those who worked and studied with him that he became a sort of institution within the institution. This exhibition of ceramic works is first and foremost a tribute to all that Russ contributed to the Department of Art and to Northwest during those many years he taught here, and most importantly to the lives of the students he touched during those decades he served as their mentor. Not every student tutored by Russ who attended Northwest is represented in this exhibition. An exhibit that size would require so much more space to display. However, those who have submitted work to this exhibit are saying “thank you” to Russ, acknowledging their gratitude, not only for themselves but for all those former students.

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As you view this exhibition of ceramic work, especially those of you who know Russ, you will find something of him in the work. For those of you who may not know Russ, you will see through the hands of his former students, in each and every piece, at least a small glimpse of him and how he influenced them even after so many years.


Phil Laber Professor of Art, Exhibition Coordinator I was a freshman art major in fall 1969 when Russell Schmaljohn taught his first ceramics classes at Northwest Missouri State College. My student relationship with Russ began in beginning ceramics, and I later became his work-study assistant. I could never have imagined then that I would later return to become his university colleague, let alone one day honor him in his retirement by coordinating this unique exhibition, a permanent ceramics collection and catalogue as part of Northwest Missouri State University’s Centennial Year celebration. From the scrutiny of my youth, Russ seemed to be an unusually quiet, enigmatic and gifted

artist. He later became my informal mentor as I learned the subtleties of university teaching and artistic dialogue. In the 1980s, Russ’s excellent teaching was recognized by the University when it presented him the rare MACE award. Then, as now, he humbly attributed his success to the spirit of collegiality known to characterize the Department of Art. Today, after many years of camaraderie and two years into his retirement, he continues to be a role model for me; one who demonstrates the importance of active learning to its fullest measure, wherein the questions and the search are always more important than the answers. It is a significant tribute to Russ and to Northwest that more than 50 of his former ceramics students have generously responded by contributing a piece of their artwork to this collection. This catalogue chronicles more than three decades of Northwest art alumni who have been touched and changed by the demands, discipline, skills, wisdom and insight provided by Russ and other art faculty members including, but not limited to: Robert Sunkel, Donald Robertson, Lee Hageman, Virginia Hillix, James Broderick, Tom Sayre, Phillip VanVoorst, Norman Weil, Ken Nelsen, Bob Cocke, Kim Spradling, George Rose, Paul Falcone, myself and more recently Craig Warner, Armin Mßsham, Glenn Williams and Laura Kukkee. The pages of this catalogue chronicle numerous ceramic methods and approaches, but more importantly they represent a small portion of a greater number of students who prospered in the artistic and educational environment provided by the art faculty and community at Northwest during the last 35 years. I am grateful to have been a small part of it all.

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Russell Schmaljohn Professor Emeritus I have taught for 40 years. Four of those years were as an art teacher — elementary through high school — in a public school system. One year was as half of the art department faculty at a state college, where I taught two-thirds of the course offerings. The last and best 35 years were at Northwest Missouri State College, now University. When someone would ask me what I taught, I would reply, I teach people (or students). “No, I mean what subject?” Art, I replied. (I could have said work, work habits, obsessive behavior, or problem-solving to name a few). “Art? What kind of art?” OK, I teach ceramics mostly. I teach all of the ceramics classes; I teach a lot of beginning drawing; and I have taught some art education courses, freshman seminar and some other stuff. “Teaching is such a fulfilling, rewarding activity. You must be so proud”… I never could identify with this vicarious success syndrome; like when I’m hungry, I don’t feel fulfilled and nourished

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by watching somebody eat. I never got my rest by putting the kids to bed and then watching them sleep, too. Teaching is an interactive reciprocal enterprise. It is co-conspiratorial. When students are learning, so is the teacher. I discovered as an undergraduate that there is such a thing as a life of the mind. My mind found out, too. Simultaneously, I blundered into art: legitimizing the use of imagination. Teaching seemed like a plausible way to sustain, support and nourish active learning and produce imaginative works of the mind, eye and hand. It certainly is the best way to proactively evangelize such an enterprise, which I wanted to do because it worked for me and I wanted to share it. The best way to learn a thing is to teach it. We teach best what we most need to learn. Evidently I had a lot to learn, or else I am a slow learner. When I came to Northwest, I found a pretty good studio, plenty of space, some decent equipment and room to grow. I thought I was in heaven at the time. The students were good teachers. Usually I learned more from the difficult students than the easy ones, but they all taught me. I had to work hard to hold up my end, and so did they for their part.

Ali Baba with Frog

29”H x 17”W x 17”D Hand-built with slabs; reduction-fired to cone 6

I am grateful for the colleagues I was privileged to work with in the Department of Art. Each of us had exclusive ownership of a portion of the curriculum, joint ownership of parts and equal ownership of the whole program. No student was “mine,” “his,” “hers,” or “theirs,” but “ours.” Teachers and learners together. Some of what came of that can be seen in this exhibition.

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Kim Spradling, Russ Schmaljohn, Lee Hageman, George Rose, mid to late 90s

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1972


Contributors and Funding Sources: The Northwest Centennial Society Department of Art Olive DeLuce Memorial Fund Missouri Arts Council Art Association Office of University Relations

The Centennial Society Members: Aquila, Inc. - Judy Ness Edna Mary Asbell Linda Borgedalen Baer Jim & Gaye Ballinger C. Taylor & Maxine Barnes Don & Ann Beeson Ned & Margie (DEC.) Bishop Jim & Beverly Blackford Robert & sue Bolin Mel & Valorie Booth Larry & Dorothy Brandt Leonard & Mauna Brooke Everett (DEC.) & Shoba Brown Lance & Sherry Burchett Mark & marla burnsides Bob & Betty Bush George & Ruth Campbell Tom Carneal Bill & Jean Corken Ray & Barbara Courter Adam Courter, Scott Courter, Lavo (Hansell) Courter, Velma (Hansell) Courter Nell Cowden Larry & Kay Davis Charles Derstler Ron & Nancy DeYoung Mark & Julia Doll Denis Brant Downey Cliff Duffield

Bud & Suzanne Edwards Mike Faust Robert & Virginia Foster Jean Fuller Jason Garst Robert & Virginia Gill Tim Gilmour Gould Evans Goodman Associates – Becky Mullins & Glen LeRoy Jack & Gladys gray George & Barbara Klein Green Norris & Kathleen Greer Mark & Debra Gutzmer J. D. & Marian Hammond Harden, Cummins, Moss & Miller, LLC Ralph & Joyce Fink Hook Marzella Houghton and Family Ronald Houston Dean & Aleta Hubbard Paul Hubbard Ron & Martha Ideker Arthur & Karen Jablonski Chris & Mercedes Ramirez Johnson

Charles & Florence Abarr Lawhead

Richard & Phyllis Leet Gweldon Long Mary Asbell & Allan Mackenzie Bill & Jodie Mackintosh Bill & Cindy McCarty Raymond (DEC.) & Ruth McClurg John & Teresa McCune Barry Monaghan John & Suzy Moore Gaylord & Mercedes Morrison Jack & Gilda Otte Blanche Pedley Chuck & Linda Place Milton & Zella Ploghoft Margaret Polsky Roberta Richey & Family Jon & Donna Rickman Deon & Jodee Roush Mike & Kellye Rouw Family Max & Lynn Ruhl Daniel runde & Patricia Runde Charles & Patricia Schultz

Bob & ZoAnn Severson R. Joe & Nancy Smith David Snider Michael & Susan Snodgrass Stan & Debbie Snyder Rollie & Caroll Stadlman Dan Stanton Robert Lee & Cassalou (DEC.) Stanton The Frank Strong Family Steve & Carol Sturm Kay Thomas Jerry & Mary Throener Peggy Whan Sharlis Marple Wheeler Joyce & Harvey White Garvin (DEC.) & Imogene Williams Hal Wilmarth Greg & Cindy Wilson Montgomery & Irma Lee Wilson Kelly Wise, Wise Motels Inc. Martha Faye Woollums (DEC.)

Larry & Carole Zahnd Joe Zelenz Paul Zimmerman

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Jim & Connie Johnson Larry (DEC.) & Sandra Jones James & Patty Joy Craig & Kerry Kelley Family

Douglas Kinder John & Carolyn Koffman

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Construction of the DeLuce Fine Arts Building

DeLuce Fine Arts Building

Fire Arts Building (Ceramics and Sculpture)


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Permanent Ceramics Collection  

Northwest Missouri State University Permanent Ceramics Collection catalog

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