James Allen-Spring 2018 Spotlight on Faculty Success

How did you choose a career in Art?  I always tell my students that my art career began in church.  As a young boy, I would draw on the back of offering envelopes that I would find in the church pews.  With the positive encouragement I received for my drawings and my lack of success in other scholastic endeavors my future became clear.

Where did you get your college degrees?  My undergraduate degree is from OSU and my Master of Arts and my Master of Fine Arts are from Bowling Green.

What’s your favorite memory of your career as a student? I attended Cooper School of Art in Cleveland, Ohio for one semester in the fall of 1968.  One weekend, I was involved in a “Creative Lock-in”.  Students spent twenty-four hours at the school creating art.  This created an indelible memory for an eighteen-year-old artist.

What are your research or professional interests? What are you working on now? I am presently working on a retirement/retrospective exhibit of my artwork to be shown in the Greer Museum gallery in the spring of 2019.

What was your first “big break”? Being accepted into graduate school at Bowling Green State University.  I had taught for three years at the Ontario School District in Ontario, Ohio.  That experience led me to the decision to attend graduate school and hopefully teach at the college level.

What are some of your greatest or most recent professional achievements?  In 1987, Allen House was scheduled to be demolished.  Working with Dr. Hayes, who was the University President at the time, we were able to secure funding to have that structure renovated.  The renovated building now houses two galleries, an archive storage facility and classroom spaces.  

Last summer, I won an “Honorable Mention Award” in the bi-annual, “Cream of the Crop” exhibit at The Southern Ohio Museum in Portsmouth, Ohio.

Do you have a website?  No, but I plan on developing one as I go into retirement.  With more time to make art, I believe a website would be beneficial.

When did you start teaching at Rio?  1986

What subjects do you teach? I teach 2D Design, Drawing II, Painting, Darkroom Photography and a course on Philosophy and Criticism in the visual arts.

What is your favorite course to teach at Rio…and why?  Painting has always been my first love but I also really enjoy the darkroom photography class. 

What’s the best part of teaching?  Hanging out with students before and after class.  Most of my friends are old geezers like me. They have very little contact with college age students.  I guess you could say, “they keep me younger”. ( Or I could say something more teacherly,  such as “when I see the spark of enlightenment in their eyes!”)

What’s the worst? Grading research papers.

If you could spend the day with any historical figure, living or dead, who would it be? Thomas Jefferson

What is your favorite book:  God Meant it for Good: A Fresh Look at the Life of Joseph, by R.T. Kendall and Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Favorite artist: Sorry, can’t narrow that one down.

Favorite musician:  Keith Green

Favorite movie: Inglorious Bastards and  No Country for Old Men

Favorite Food: My wife’s chicken stir fry

Favorite quote: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” and “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”—Jesus Christ (essentially, love God and love people)

If you couldn’t have a career in your discipline, what would you do for a living? A marine biologist

What are your hobbies (outside your professional activity)? Fishing and crossbow hunting

Do you share your home with family or pets? My three daughters are all married and raising their own families. Our dog passed away two years ago and so my wife and I are “empty nesters”.

What’s the one thing that most people don’t know about you?  I have done some theater and I love acting.

Please join us in congratulating Professor Allen on the occasion of his retirement in May 2018 after 32 years of service!