Gerald Lee Westgerdes is a sculptor and retired art professor who dedicated more than four decades of his life to sharing art with others and teaching in a variety of disciplines within the field of art. He concluded his career in 2007 with Ohio University Zanesville, where he taught as an art professor since 1993. Previously, he succeeded in such roles as a division chairman at Nazareth College, an instructor of art at Los Angeles Community Adult School, and as a teacher at the Dubnoff School.
Regarded as a leader in his field, Mr. Westgerdes was afforded many opportunities to showcase his expertise through civic projects in the arts. Notably, he worked for two decades with the Zanesville Appalachian Arts Project, which is a community arts group representing a diverse range of talents and media in the area. Mr. Westgerdes has participated in other initiatives with the Pioneer and Historical Society of Muskingum County. He also served on the Board of Trustees for the Zanesville Art Center for 15 years.
When asked what has driven his success in his career, Mr. Westgerdes acknowledges his wife, Marilyn. “The highlight of my entire life was marrying my wife. She has always been a motivating force in my career and my inspiration. Her support was incredibly instrumental to my success,” he says. He also thanks his children — Christine, Alicia and Benjamin — for the support they have provided.
Mr. Westgerdes’ love of art has been the foundation for his career; however, he found it incredibly important to support his passion with his education and involvement in the professional community. In 1964, he earned a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Dayton. Thereafter, he attended the Otis College of Art and Design (formerly the Otis Art Institute) in Los Angeles. While there, he achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1971 and a Master of Fine Arts in 1973.
Considered an expert in his field, Mr. Westgerdes remained at the top of his field through his affiliation with the College Art Association and Foundations in Art: Theory and Education. As he looks to the future, Mr. Westgerdes plans to continue enjoying his retirement while taking on projects and opportunities that thrill him.
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