Edinboro University of Pennsylvania will honor former art professor Waldo F. Bates Jr., with the unveiling of a memorial on Friday, April 13 at 10:30 a.m. in Loveland Hall. The event is part of the University's Spring Convocation celebration.
Dr. Jay Hanes, who continues Bates' commitment to educating art teachers, will comment on the past, present and future of Edinboro's programs.
Bates, a beloved art teacher, professor and chair of the Art Department, taught at Edinboro from 1920 to 1954. Through Bates' efforts the Normal School program of teaching art education was expanded to include professional visual arts training in new areas of concentration at Edinboro State Teachers College. Bates was a pivotal player in efforts to increase enrollment and by 1929 had succeeded in establishing Edinboro as the recognized art program in the western half of Pennsylvania's state colleges.
Bates founded the long-lived ScaRAb Club. In the 1920s and 1930s, every art student became a member of this club and sewed a scarab emblem to a black beret and wore a white smock. The ScaRAb Club brought to campus such speakers as Grant Wood. ScaRAb club officers dressed in Egyptian costumes and enjoyed balls and breakfasts during the long winters. The club's mascot (a beetle) was inserted above Loveland Hall's main entrance.
The Bates Memorial
Appropriately, the Waldo F. Bates, Jr. memorial embodies all of the visual arts at Edinboro. For example, art history is filled with artworks designed to honor the past while defining the present. Using archival photographs, professor Michelle Vitali designed a memorial plaque that places Bates in front of a blackboard filled with his chalked instructions. These visual notes acknowledge Edinboro's history as an institution formed to teach teachers.
The clay Vitali used to form the memorial reminds us of our ceramics program.
The mold-making and bronze pour by Professor D. W. Martin speaks of metals, jewelry and sculpture.
The choice of font style and scale recall the importance of graphic design.
The one-point perspective references both drawing and painting.
The chalkboard's rotating ellipses serve as a kind of stop-motion animation and cinematic image.
Bates' familiar shirt, tie and suspenders remind us of the crucial role of weaving and textiles.
Woodworking is honored in the framing of the blackboard that rises above a stylized representation of Loveland Hall.
In a bow to contemporary inter-disciplinary artwork, Vitali has released the beetle from its static architectural presentation, and, using a specimen from Edinboro's Biology Department, has fashioned a large bug that climbs over Loveland.
Professor D. W. Martin made a rubber mold of Vitali's clay design. A positive was cast and invested in a ceramic shell mold. Using equipment donated by Dave Bennett (a sculpture alumnus), the wax was burned out and poured with liquid bronze. Once completed, the memorial was cleaned, patinaed and installed in Loveland.
The memorial was initiated by the Waldo Committee and funded by the University's Student Art League, Student Government Association, and Development Office.
Faculty, students and staff envisioned this tribute to Waldo F. Bates, Jr. as a lasting memorial to a man who was essential in the creation of the Art Department we enjoy today.