Artist Bo Bartlett And CSU Plan Gallery And Learning Center

PHILADELPHIA --- Internationally renowned artist Bo Bartlett, one of todays foremost American painters, will return to his Columbus, Ga. hometown to help establish a permanent gallery and learning center as a visiting professor at Columbus State University, he and university President Frank Brown announced in Pennsylvania Friday night.

Having Bartletts work, presence and expertise at Columbus State University bolsters a burgeoning art program already making strides and planning a move in 2006 into spectacular riverside facilities that will complete a world-class fine and performing arts campus in historic downtown Columbus.

University officials are planning Bartletts studio and gallery for the second floor of the downtown complex, overlooking the Chattahoochee River. Bartlett has agreed to display his artwork there, along with his personal sketchbooks, which show the progression from idea to finished work. Public display of such personal items is rare for artists of Bartletts caliber.

While he plans to continue his artistry around the world, Barlett has committed to spending several weeks a year at the university as an artist-in-residence.

We are extremely honored and excited about having Bo Bartlett on the Columbus State University faculty. Our plans are to provide a permanent public gallery where he can teach, display his talents and provide a truly unique learning opportunity to our students and the community, Brown said. This will be an asset not only to our university, but also to Georgia and Columbus -- a city proud to call Bartlett one of its own.

Born in Columbus in 1955, Bo Bartlett describes himself as a young American artist with a focus on large-scale contemporary figurative painting. He has studied under the worlds leading artists and most recently was commissioned by Time magazine to illustrate its 2004 Person of the Year issue, which honored the American soldier.

Im exited about the CSU gallery and learning center, Bartlett said. Im looking forward to working with the university and the students there.

Bartlett has been working on his craft all his life. In his late teenage years he sought out significant painters that would help him define his artistic direction. This pursuit led him to Florence, Italy to study with Ben Long IV (a student of Italian Fresco painter Pietro Annigoni) then to Boston and New York. Along the way, he married his high school sweetheart, Melonie, and started his family, all of whom figure prominently in his work.

In 1975 the Bartletts moved to Philadelphia so Bo Bartlett could attend the University of the Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the bastion of American realism painting. There he studied under Ben Kamihira, Morris Blackburn and Sidney Goodman, all well-known realist painters. He also apprenticed under Nelson Shanks (the American portrait painter who painted Princess Diana of Wales, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and President Ronald Reagan). In the tradition of Thomas Eakins, Bartlett also studied anatomy at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Thomas Jefferson University. In 1993 Bo Bartlett received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Aside from painting, Bartlett received a film making degree from New York University in 1986 and was asked by Betsy Wyeth to film a documentary on her husband Andrew Wyeth. Bartlett filmed, directed, and edited this project, which became the documentary Andrew Wyeth, Self Portrait: Snow Hill. As a result of their interaction, Andrew Wyeth and Bo Bartlett have become close friends.

The following Andrew Wyeth quote appears in the Bo Bartlett 1994 Red Catalog. I'm a pretty critical old man. There are very few young American artists whose work I find exciting. One of them happens to be my son, Jamie. The other is Bo Bartlett. They've got it. It's there. Keep a close watch on their future.

Art connoisseurs from all over the world have been collecting Barletts work for years. Otis and Sandy Scarborough of Columbus, Bartletts brother-in-law and sister, are among those collectors and predict the Bartlett gallery at Columbus State University will become a favored place for collectors to showcase fine art from the nations foremost artists.