I was born and raised in Butte, Montana. My early education was from Butte’s Catholic Schools and the colorful, notorious streets of Butte. Just out of high school, I tried the college life for a year and then I joined the Navy mostly to see what the world was like at sea away from the mountains and mines of Montana. My duty was a 2 ½ year scenic ocean tour carrying cigarettes and movies to other ships and stations throughout the Pacific. The military experience was enlightening, far different from what I had received in Montana.
After being at sea for two years, I realized the enriched visual stimulation I had been blessed with in growing up in Butte. I’d always sketched a lot and wanted to legitimize that ability so I returned to Montana in 1954 and earned a BA in Applied Art at Montana State College. MSC provided a deepening love of producing art of all sorts and a knowledge and appreciation of the arts. I courted and married the most patient, tolerant, and beautiful woman (she’s helping me write this) I’d ever known (other than my mother, who is deceased but I know would want to be mentioned). We’ve raised five exceptional children and watched those five raise our seven exceptional grandchildren. During those school years then family years, I had various jobs to make ends meet: laborer, auto repairman, steel worker, apprentice carpenter, truck driver, cab driver, draughtsman, waiter, bartender, clerk, surveyor, golf club manager, electronics technician, gallery owner and art director, two dimensional painter. Every job taught me something valuable about the way the world works.
Choosing to share my education and life experiences, I became a passionate teacher of art. My teaching career was anchored for 33 years at Bozeman High School, but my moonlighting allowed me to work with students from kindergarten to grad students, private classes and workshops on a regular schedule that included teaching art as many as five evenings a week in communities that were 120 miles or less from Bozeman. During the summer, I was often a guest instructor at most of the units of the Montana university system and four summers at Carroll College in Helena. I also earned a Masters Degree in Art at Montana State University during my early teaching career.
Throughout these years, I was fortunate enough to be invited to contribute my thoughts to a number of National Arts centered organizations such as: NAERC (National Art Education Research Clinic) at New York University, 1988-1990, which published A Framework for Multicultural Arts Education; NBPTS (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards) at Washington, DC, which researched and designed the tests for National Certification of Art Teachers, 1990-1995; NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) at Washington, DC, on the Educational Advisory Committee, 1988-1993; ETS (Educational Testing Service) at Princeton, New Jersey, where I was a reader for Fine Art Portfolios for high school students seeking advanced placement, 1988-1994.
I also picked up a few kudos along the way: the Montana Art Teacher of the Year, 1982; the Governor’s Award for Service to the Arts, 1987; the Pacific Region Art Educator of the Year from the National Art Education Association, 1990; and the Herald McGrath Award from the Butte-Silverbow Chamber of Commerce, 2011.
I still paint, own and direct galleries, curates exhibitions for public buildings, teach, and promote art activities everywhere I can.