Faculty Feature: Gary Greenberg

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With clown figurines sporadically placed across the room, a Walt Disney hat, a skeleton with a smiley face on it to represent the face, a medal around its neck and a disposable diaper with babies placed on its feet, art professor Gary Greenberg has a unique twist to his office.
He said, “I like stuff. I need to be in a visually and tactilely stimulating environment.”
Greenberg is from Elgin, Illinois, but has been in various parts of the country. He has a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree from Arizona State University, both in ceramic arts. Greenberg taught at Northern Iowa University, worked with the Arizona Commission on the Arts, was a substitute teacher in Arizona and Illinois, painted houses, fixed Volkswagens and dog sat.
Greenberg saw that the contrast between Illinois and Arizona was distinctive when he moved.
He said, “Moving to Arizona was like landing on Mars. Everything was different. Nothing was green, there were just rocks, sand, cactus and rivers with no water.”
Greenberg said he does enjoy the small town of Clarion, and chose to live in a small town.
Greenberg teaches Ceramics, Jewelry, 3-D Design and Visual Arts at CUP. Greenberg has taught at Clarion for 23 years and picked up numerous projects.
Greenberg had a large wood fire at the stadium, and saw the chance to develop that in ceramics.
He said, “We are approaching our 60th three-day firing, having involved more than 2,000 students, and spending half a year of my life at the kiln site.”
The kiln is a large wood-fired structure that is approximately 160 cubic feet in the interior. It takes 10 to 12 hours to load, and is continuously stoked for 36 hours. Each fire consumes three cords of wood, each of which is a 4 by 4 by 8 foot stack.
Greenberg said, “People come from all over the country and as far away as Alberta, Canada to view the fire. The next is coming up on Nov. 7-9 and is open for anyone to come and be a part of.”
This event happens spring, summer and fall.
Greenberg used his school experience when dictating what path in life to take.
He said, “Spending most of my formative years in the principal’s office made me think I could do a lot better job than the teachers that sent me there.”
Greenberg lives life on the adventurous side daily, and if ever given the opportunity, said he would like to go to Antarctica to make sculptures.

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