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conceptualists, if in doubt, make a difference

updated fri 31 may 96


Sherry McDonald on thu 9 may 96

The beginnings of The Monarch Tile Ceramic Competition, now in Alabama, but
for years in San Angelo, Tx. was really begun at Angelo State University, as
a regional competition. Martha Wittstruck, then ceramic instructor at that
school in San Angelo put together the finest regional competition. This was
perhaps late 70's early 80's. The small town of about 60,000 people formed a
Fine Arts Museum about 10 years ago, and the director they hired saw the show
she had put together, and wanted to take it to the Museum, he wanted to make
it National. It is a premier competition, showcased often in Ceramics
Monthly, and written about by Bill Hunt. Now, the company, having moved it's
headquarters, has moved the show to Alabama, and the town of San Angelo has
opted somehow to keep the show going under another name. I don't know who
sponsors it, I just want to make a point that one person, Martha Wittstruck,
managed to make a big difference. The two shows, I feel, are a direct result
of her conceptualism, and her abilities, her perserverence, and many other
qualities, not always noticed by the school where one teaches, or the
community where one lives. Martha worked to set up the Monarch Show. It is a
tribute to her . She trained people in the community, people who worked with
the museum, students, the director of the museum, how to.... Martha never
received recognition for her ideas, her work, or her abilities. It hasn't
kept her from moving on. It is admirable, but mostly it shows that her
motivation is directed as an artists must be, from within. I was one of her
students. She is now teaching in Minnesota, near Minneapolis . Her efforts
have now yielded two major competitions for ceramicists , and for the good of
two communities. Not to mention what she has done for the arts, and what she
continues to do. Sherry McDonald Stewart