Practicing Their Art

Practicing Their Art

The art and design department adds color to the UW-Stout campus, not only the department as a whole, but also the individual artists who comprise it. One such artist/teacher is Douglas Cumming.

Cumming and his wife, sculptor Nancy Blum, who also teaches at UW-Stout, have exhibited extensively in this country as well as in Europe. In fact, the two own a summer home in the south of France with West German artist Ebberhard Eggers who was a guest artist at Stout from 1971 to 1972.

Cumming came to Stout in 1967 when Orazio Fumagalli was putting the art department together. "President Bud Micheels wanted to bring a cultural influence to the campus," Cumming said, and "Fumagalli had the kind of dynamic personality to go out and get it done."

Cumming said that the idea was to have a diverse department-"to take a stylistic position and then complement it with an opposite." He noted that that is still the underlying philosophy of the department.

"The place is full of life," Cumming said. That's probably because art educators at Stout are themselves artists. "We have a self-imposed emphasis on practicing our art," Cumming said. The faculty is highly encouraged to be "studio active." In fact, according to Cumming, "it's ... difficult to get a promotion if you're not studio active."

But Cumming, who is a tenured professor, is indeed studio active. "I'm up here all the time," he said. "I love it." That's part of why Cumming, who exhibits all over this country and has taught in England and lived in Germany and France, keeps coming back to UW-Stout. "There is a sense of professionalism here," Cumming said. And he appreciates that studio work is so highly encouraged. But also, he very much enjoys the students.

"I love to see the light bulb go on above a student's head," he said. "That's as exciting as anything to me."

Outlook Spring '96