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May 27, 2010
The Cleveland Institute of Art recognizes exceptional faculty members Frances Prindle Taft and Gerald Vandevier with the Viktor Schreckengost Teaching Award.
Each year, the Cleveland Institute of Art recognizes exceptional faculty members with the Viktor Schreckengost Teaching Award. This year, the award goes to one current and one former faculty member: Frances Prindle Taft, Professor of art history, and Gerald Vandevier, Professor Emeritus of painting [pictured with his wife Marla Gutzwiller and CIA President David Deming].
This award was established in 2000 by President David L. Deming to honor the late artist and industrial designer Viktor Schreckengost, a 1929 graduate of the Institute who taught here for almost 70 years. Viktor was the first recipient of this award, which is presented to current and/or former faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Art in recognition of teaching excellence at the Institute over a period of at least 10 years. Nominations are accepted from the entire CIA community: faculty, former faculty, alumni, students, and friends.
Professor Emeritus Gerald Vandevier taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art for 33 years, from 1973 until his retirement in 2006. During that time he taught in the Painting department and in “just about every area of Foundation” that the Institute offered. He inspired and pushed countless students to develop strong skills and artistic voice.
Gerry grew up in Miami, Florida and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida Atlantic University in 1966 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting at Florida State University in 1969. After grad school, Gerry served on the faculty of the Herron School of Art of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis for two years, where he saw snow on the ground for the first time in his life. Apparently he didn’t mind it too much because from Indianapolis he came to the Cleveland Institute of Art along with his wife, Marla Gutzwiller, who taught in what was then our Graphic Design department for 31 years.
Gerry’s work has been represented in numerous group and solo shows nationally and regionally, and is in numerous corporate collections. He has received a number of awards, including Best Painting and Best of Show awards at separate All Ohio exhibits at the Canton Art Institute. We’re delighted that Gerry is still painting and still coming to gallery shows and other CIA events.
Professor Frances Prindle Taft also received the award this year. Franny earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College in 1942. After graduation, she joined the first officer class of the U.S. Naval Reserve’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES. She was discharged with the rank of Lieutenant in 1945 and went on to Yale, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in art history in 1948.
That same year, she married Seth Taft and moved to Cleveland, where she and Seth both immersed themselves in Cleveland civic life.
Since 1950, Franny has taught art history to thousands of students at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She continues to inspire and enlighten students with her passion for art, particularly pre-Columbian art of Latin America. Her vast knowledge and insight provide students with a sense of perspective and context for works from cave drawings to the art of the Renaissance to contemporary art. She has led student groups on educational tours of Mexico to see pre-Columbian art firsthand.
Her former students (many of whom are now retired!) recall Franny as an energetic, dedicated, and very approachable teacher with an encyclopedic memory for art history.
Please join us in congratulating two truly excellent teachers.
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