Interview SummaryIn this interview, Jack F. Gron discusses his work with John Tuska, former Professor of Art at the University of Kentucky. Gron was born in Steubenville, Ohio in 1951. His family worked in the steel industry, which influenced his choice of becoming a metal sculptor. He earned his B. F. A. from Columbus College of Art and Design in 1973, and his M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He moved to Chicago, where he had a studio and taught part-time. In 1980, he moved to the University of Cincinnati to teach sculpture for two years. Gron came to UK in 1982, and first met John Tuska when moving into the metal arts facility. He describes Tuska as a "powerful presence" and talks about Tuska's work in many different media.
Gron recalls that Tuska was a strong influence and role model in the art department. He recalls how he and Tuska both learned from one another, and that Tuska helped him to deal with the politics of the department. Gron emphasizes that artists need to have an ego, which Tuska "had in abundance" and could back it up with his prolific work. He remembered Tuska was compassionate, but expected a lot from himself as well as his students.
Gron describes at length the development of Tuska's best known bronze sculpture work "Illumine", sponsored by the Donovan Trust. He discusses Tuska's declining health during the completion of this project. Gron talks about the tremendous opportunity for students as well as himself to assist with Tuska's work, and recalls the controversy that surrounded this piece, since the figures were nude. He also mentions working with Tuska on the bust of John Sherman Cooper, which is displayed in the State Capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky. Gron talks about his social interaction with Tuska and his wife, Miriam, away from the university. Miriam died in 1996 and John Tuska died in 1998
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Gron, Jack F. Interview by Gail Kennedy. 26 Jun. 2002. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Gron, J.F. (2002, June 26). Interview by G. Kennedy. John Tuska Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Gron, Jack F., interview by Gail Kennedy. June 26, 2002, John Tuska Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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