Conlon, James 4115170_32105253 Newsletter.jpg

Mr. Conlon has been drawn to the arts since an early age, beginning during his formative years in grade school. Inspired to enter the world of art by a high school teacher, Robert Psister, he attended the Ohio State University as a college student and earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in 1959 and 1962, respectively. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, he began his career as an art teacher within Cincinnati Public Schools in 1960. During his graduate studies, he served as a graduate assistant at the Ohio State University until his graduation. From there, he served a stint as a lecturer at Indiana University Bloomington for three years before relocating to Alabama.

Beginning in 1965, Mr. Conlon was a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. He served as an assistant professor of art for the following seven years before being promoted to associate professor in 1972, a position he held until 1980. Promoted once again, he was a full professor for 17 years until attaining emeritus status in 1998. During his tenure with the university, he chaired an informal meeting that established the minor program of every American studies program. Because of his efforts, he discovered his interest in creating a different kind of art slide base for art teachers and subsequently developed the Ethnic American Slide Library at the University of South Alabama. The library produced art slides of ethnic groups, such as Afro-American, Native American and Hispanic American demographics. Effective during the 1970s and 1980s and distributed to 400 American colleges and universities, the library was functional until Mr. Conlon’s retirement in 1997. Mr. Conlon  and his colleague also developed collections of animals at various institutions in France and England.

Mr. Conlon notes that he tried to be as active in the community as he can, and he previously served on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity in Mobile from 1995 to 1997. A prolific artist in his own right, he designed the Mobile Terrace Playground, as well as a 14-foot mirrored site-piece, a cold cast bronze sculpture, a fiberglass wall relief and a life-sized sculpture. Conducting his artwork at home, he notably transformed his garage into his own art studio.

Maintaining membership with the Watercolor and Graphic Arts Society of Mobile, Mr. Conlon was supported as a grantee of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation from 1969 to 1978. A celebrated Marquis listee, he was highlighted in the 61st through 63rd editions of Who’s Who in America.

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