Snyder 'Crafts' Plans for State Art Program
Sidelines, September 1972, Murfreesboro, TN
MTSU art teacher Lewis Snyder, who was one of only two Americans to attend the 1970 International Ceramics Symposium, was appointed director of crafts for the Tennessee Art Commission this summer.
Snyder, who is on a year's leave of absence from MTSU, was selected to develop crafts in the state and to help market crafts.
He is currently engaged in setting up a dozen art programs in the state, including the establishment of a state craft design center.
Snyder was impressed with the month-long Czechoslovakian symposium he attended. "The symposium was more valuable to my professional growth than all my other education combined." Snyder said.
Snyder was invited to create a US branch of the symposium in the United States, to be held in the summer of 1973. He inquired about the possibility of holding the symposium on the MTSU campus, but his initial offer was rejected by art department officials.
He later submitted a written request to hold the symposium at MTSU to administration officials, but no decision has been made.
Art department head Charles Brandon said the he did not know when a decision would be made concerning the symposium and added that the space would probably be needed for student use.
Snyder said that no ceramics classes have been offered in previous summers, and none were mentioned as being planned for next summer until his symposium offer. The symposium would require only the facilities used for ceramics, Snyder said, and the university would be asked to furnish rooms and breakfast for the participants. Snyder feels that the value of the symposium would far outweigh having classes for only 6 to 8 students next summer. "The university would gain through publicity and recognition," he said.
"Art Students would be able to serve as assistants to the potters and would profit from observing the techniques each uses," said Snyder.
Snyder came to MTSU in 1962 to develop a ceramic and sculpture program. Four years later, when the art department moved into the art barn, Snyder designed the facilities for the sculpture, ceramics and jewelry classes.
"The old milking area of the barn is now used for sculpture and ceramics, and my studio is located where the cows were washed," Snyder said.
Snyder developed beginning, intermediate and advanced courses for jewelry, ceramics and sculpture students. Later, print-making courses were added, which include etching and engraving.
Several years ago Snyder and some of his students conducted an art auction to supplement funds that were provided for the development of the first floor of the art barn. "The auction embarrassed the university into giving us $3,500 more for equipment," Snyder said.
Two years ago Snyder obtained enough brick to build $20,000 worth of kilns at the art barn. Upper division ceramics students can now learn to build their own kilns, he said. "We have been able to develop one of the best ceramics departments in the southeast," Snyder added.
Snyder said that he is pleased with his appointment as director of crafts because he is "at liberty to develop the needs of crafts in the state." He added that the job 'couldn't be done from a position on the university staff."
Among other projects, Snyder is working with a federal grant to develop a program of art design and quality control, technical training, management and marketing in three areas of the state.
He also plans to institute a federation of marketing, training and projection across the state so that crafts can be produced and obtained easily by purchasers.
State-wide workshops, the state craft fair and exhibitions of crafts purchased by the state will also occupy Snyder's time.
"We plan to start a film reference library and keep craftsmen on file, what they are producing and where they live in the state," Snyder said.
"The Tennessee Art Commission has been helpful in providing services, money and encouragement for the promotion of crafts in Tennessee," said Snyder.