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Columbia College presents retrospective art exhibition of late artist


Sherman Hay’s teaching career was spent as an art instructor at Columbia College, Modesto Junior College and Merced Community College. He also spent 20 years teaching art in California prisons.

A colorful, varied retrospective of artwork by the late Sherman Hay, a local artist and arts educator, is on display at Columbia College through Friday, Dec. 15.

The exhibit includes more than 40 paintings, drawings and sculptures on display at Columbia College’s Manzanita Building, 11600 Columbia College Drive. The Manzanita Building’s upper level Rotunda is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A public reception and talk is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov 9. Stacy Hay, wife of the late Sherman Hay, will be on hand to discuss his artwork and the mediums used as well as answer questions.

The Columbia College Foundation is hosting both the event and the show.

This exhibition — the first since Hay’s death earlier this year — features a collection of his paintings, drawings, handmade paper, prints and ceramic sculptures.

Stacy Hay curated the show, titled “Sherman Hay: A Retrospective Art Exhibition.”

“I am very excited to have this retrospective exhibition at our local college, including 40 of Sherman’s artworks,” she said. “I feel grateful to share his incredible legacy of artwork with the community and encourage everyone to come and experience it. I know I treasure it.”

Sherman grew up in San Jose and started his love of art at age 5 working alongside his grandmother creating mosaic designs on bowls. He enjoyed drawing in high school, but after graduating from Lincoln High School, Sherman was drafted into the military, where he joined the Marine Corps and was stationed near the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone.

After his service, he used the G.I. Bill to attend San Jose Community College and Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills. He earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Hayward (East Bay), in 1976. He received his Masters of Arts degree from Humboldt State University in 1979.

Hay’s teaching career was spent as an art instructor at Columbia College, Modesto Junior College and Merced Community College. Hay spent 20 years teaching art in the California state prison system and California Youth Authority. He was able to do this work as a contract artist working with the William James Association, and he earned 13 Artist in Residence grants through the California Arts Council.

He completed several public art projects, including a sculpture at the Calaveras County Library in San Andreas; 10 brass butterflies embedded into the cement sidewalk in front of Harrison Elementary School in Stockton; and two mosaic tile murals — an image of Mark Twain for Mark Twain Elementary School in Angels Camp, and a cougar for Copperopolis Elementary School. He also won awards in numerous juried competitions throughout the country.

Hay devoted his life to creating art through painting, drawing, mosaics, environmental works, functional art, digital art, papermaking, printmaking, and sculpture in ceramic, stone, metal, and a variety of other mediums.

Frequenting art museums and galleries brought him inspiration, but he was also moved by the artistic spirit of the students he taught and the essential self-expression that creativity offered them. He cherished his community of friends, using both family and friends as models in his drawings and paintings, organizers said.

A new Sherman Hay Art Scholarship has been set up through the Columbia College Foundation, and will be awarded to Columbia College students beginning in April 2018.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Stacy on this unique and impactful show,” said Amy Nilson, executive for the Columbia College Foundation, “and the new scholarship will help carry on Sherman’s memory to a new generation of young artists.”

For more information, visit gocolumbia.edu or call (209) 588-5065.