Story Walk: career

Story Walk: "career"

Baseball and Painting by Stanley Witmeyer & Beatrice Anderson

Stanley Witmeyer: I’m one of eight children so that mother and dad there were ten of us, and I can recall I thought it took half of a railroad car to house us. And we all sang in the choirs. And I sang, I sang in the Christ Church Episcopal Church and sang soprano until I was about fifteen years old. Also, it was at Christ Church where there was a guy by the name of Pop Bishop, and he was a retired minister who would see us after practice and allow us to play basketball there. And it was through basketball that helped to make my career. So I went to RIT, known as Mechanics Institute, and I got my art degree there, and then, walking down State Street two days after I graduated, I had a pat on my shoulder. And looked around, it was the coach of Eastman Kodak Company’s basketball team. “Well,” he says, “I can give you a job right now. Play basketball for us.” I took the job and I was there for half a season, playing basketball, I didn’t like it. I took a year’s leave of absence and I finished half of that year at the University and I was drafted. They said, “We’re going to let you play basketball here for a while, and that’s part of our entertainment program for the recruits that come in.” When I finally got to Fort Belvoir the European war was just about ending and so they were looking to the Pacific. They selected ninety men to form a platoon to do field mapping and with that platoon we went to Hawai’i after we were trained, and we were mapping there the invasions of the islands and during the three years I was in the Army I did more painting than I’ve ever done. Weekends I would take another artist friend with me and we’d go out for the day painting. Coming out of the Army, I accepted the job at RIT, and what happened at RIT was the greatest challenge of my life. I was at the beginning of a transformation of art and education in this country at 1946 because very few people make a living in painting going to an art school.  They make a living in other areas, like medical illustration, like industrial design, like interior design. That was the challenge I had at RIT, to change a classical school into a modern art school of design. And so what I’m, I’m a person who works with what I call the visual language, the silent language, and what we’re opening up today that is different from any other time is that people work from the inside out not the outside in.