Notes for Summer, 2008

A memorial service for Fred Spratt, a San Jose giant in the art scene, was held Saturday, June 14th at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. The eulogy was given by Andrew Goldberg and speakers included son, Shahn Spratt, Cathy Kimball, Director of the ICA, and artists, Erin Goodwin-Guerrero and Katherine Levin-Lau. Alan Soldovsky read some of his own verse which sprang in part from his conversations with Fred. Opera San Jose provided a soloist.

Spratt passed away at age 80, after years of frail health. He is remembered for his unflagging energy in turning the art department at San Jose State University into a highly professional and nationally respected school of art, art history and design. He served as Department Chair twice and went on to serve as Acting Dean of the Humanities and Arts. At a time when San Jose had only the bare beginnings of an art scene he pushed events and helped to build organizations that would raise the standards and profile of the arts in the City. He advocated for greater Town & Gown relations as a means to bring the University standards and resources into better service to the community. His gallery, Frederick Spratt Contemporary Art, has been the sole gallery in San Jose to take local artists’ careers in hand, offer them solo exhibition opportunities, and document their work in small catalogs. It was a model for big-city private art galleries that San Jose still struggles to realize. Spratt’s standing-room-only service was attended by his family, art collectors, artist friends, former students and colleagues from SJSU, including Patrick Surgalski, David Middlebrook, Irene Dalas, Tony May, Harry and Lynn Powers, Steve French and Wanda Waldera, Paul Staiger, Theta Belcher, Kathryn Funk, Laurie and Mike Warner, Sheila and Ralph Pickett, Farrar Wilson, Geoff Bowman, Sam Smidt, Kate Kelly, and Sam and Adrienne Richardson, Lynn New and Bob Guillot, and Ken Matsumoto . A potluck followed the service.

San Jose State MFA graduate Shay Church has won the CUE Foundation’s Joan Mitchell award in sculpture, which includes a major cash award. The Joan Mitchell award is presented annually to one MFA painter and one MFA sculptor, from a list of nominees from a selected number of highly ranked schools of art across the country. Two years ago the award was won by painter Eileen David, also a SJSU School of Art and Design MFA graduate.

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