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A passion for art

piece of wood crafted by Gary Beard ’77, ’88 looks as if it were made of clay. That is no accident. Beard’s goal when he starts each new piece is to bring the fluid lines of ceramics to his woodworking.

In the mid-70s, Beard taught creative arts at Woodbury High School, his alma mater. “By the end of the day, I was burnt out,” said Beard, who found working with ceramics was no longer challenging after teaching the craft to students all day. “It was a gradual switch to woodworking,” he explains.

The new medium revived his creative talents. “An artist often doesn’t know what to focus on, but you have to focus,” he said. Now, Beard works part time at the post office. This allows him to keep his focus on what’s really important to him, his artwork. “It is the only thing I’m passionate about,” he said.

This year, Beard received an $8,000 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He was the only winner in the wood crafts category from Gloucester County. The grant has given him the opportunity to work with a variety of expensive woods including cherry, maple and walnut.

from fall ’99

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