The Art League School said goodbye Saturday to a longtime teacher as former and current students joined Chuck Johnson to wish him a happy retirement. The article below, written by a student of Chuck’s, was originally published in the Winter issue of Brush-Up from The Art League School.
After more than 18 years of challenging students to “dare to be great” in his Art League sculpture classes, Charles “Chuck” Johnson has announced his intent to retire at the end of the fall 2013 term. Following a stint as a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II — where he flew B-29s, B-25s, B-17s and P-38s — and a Foreign Service career with USAID, Chuck has taught sculpture in the DC area for nearly three decades. In addition to The Art League School, he also taught for many years at the Washington Studio School in Georgetown and Montgomery College in Rockville.
Chuck’s students — past and present and from around the globe — recently honored him with a book of tributes entitled “You’re the Artist: A Celebration of Chuck Johnson’s Studio at The Art League” which can be previewed in its entirety here. Many of his students have been studying with him over a decade and some over two decades! “You’re the artist” is one of the many Chuck-isms his students have come to know and love.
Perhaps one of Chuck’s greatest legacies as a teacher has been his ability to help students identify and develop their own individual style of sculpting rather than teaching them to sculpt like someone else. This gift is reflected in the fact that many who have studied with him are recognized artists in their own right.
With instruction as a top priority, Chuck also nurtured an environment of creative camaraderie in each of his classes. Laughter has always been part of the equation and classmates have grown to be friends over the years … and they promise to “get the gesture” as they continue to apply the invaluable lessons about sculpture – and life – learned in Chuck’s classes.
Happy retirement, Chuck!
— Cindy Kellams