John Henry Waddell, born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1921, began teaching art to adults when he was 16. After his Army service, he achieved his MFA and MAE from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Waddell headed art education at the New Bauhaus in Chicago, then at Arizona State University, before retiring from university teaching at age 40 to work full time on his mostly figurative art.
In 1963, the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four young black girls, prompted Waddell to create a memorial monument entitled “That Which Might Have Been,” a grouping of four bronze figures, representing the women these little girls might have grown up to be. This work, now displayed at Carver Civil Rights Museum, marks a turning point in Waddell’s work. Though earlier he had been a social significance painter, representing the ills of society, his interest now turned to the beauty of individuals and the potential for positive interaction.
To learn more, visit his website.