Talk about Art
May 23, 2019
Not everyone is interested in pursuing a career in science or math, which is fortunate, because if the whole planet were filled with scientists and mathematicians, there would be no artists.
"I struggled through all the academics of high school but found refuge in my art and shop classes," says Dennis Zupan, a potter of extraordinary ability who spent 30 years teaching pottery and jewelry making at public schools, colleges, and universities.
He considers art vital and necessary "refuge classes" for right-brained, creative individuals who struggle in a school system that too heavily promotes left brain thinking.
"The arts in our public schools are on a giant pendulum, and it was/is swinging down," Zupan says.
"During my time as a teacher, it was a constant battle to preserve the art class as a valid educational experience."
Before retiring and moving up to Kennewick from Utah, Zupan ran into former students all the time. They were everywhere in all walks of life, some working in the art field and others not, but most incorporating art in their lives in some fashion.
"I had been around so long that I kept hearing, 'My mother or dad had your class.' In my last year I heard of a student in school that could have said to me, 'My mother and grandmother had your class.' I had been there long enough."
Zupan was one of 20 potters selected by National Geographic Magazine and the Mesa Verde National Park to replicate ancient, pre-Columbian Anasazi pottery techniques for a documentary project. He also worked with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to create New Testament era pottery for a series of films made on the life of Christ.
Wenaha Gallery is showcasing an array of Zupan's work in a month-long Art Event through June 15. The gallery, located at 219 E. Main, Dayton, is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.