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Walter C Jackson

Sculptor Walter C Jackson was born on January 21, 1940 on his grandparents’ farm near Durant, Mississippi. He moved with his parents and brother to Jackson, Mississippi at the age of six, where he attended Smith Robertson Elementary School and Lanier High School. Jackson earned his B.S. degree in art education from Jackson State University in 1963, and went on to earn his M.F.A. degree from the University of Tennessee in 1971.

From 1963 to 1968, Jackson headed the art department at Douglass High School in Memphis, Tennessee. He joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee in 1971, serving as an assistant professor of sculpture until 1980. Jackson then became an adjunct assistant professor at York College of The City University of New York for two years, beginning in 1984. After two years, Jackson left to join the Bronx Museum of Arts. In 1989, Jackson was named as an artist in residence at the Bronx River Art Center. He worked at the Convent of the Sacred Heart before returning to the Bronx River Art Center as its executive director from 1995 to 1998. He has presented exhibitions of his works at galleries and museums throughout the United States including: The Sculpture Center in New York City; P. S. 1 in New York City; Pittsfield Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Roswell Museum in Roswell, New Mexico, The African-American Museum in the Hempstead area of Long Island, New York and the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson’s works are included in the collections of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Tennessee Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Roswell in New Mexico. Jackson’s work reflects the melding of the folklore that was a major part of his experiences growing up in the rural south with the industrial and technological promise of the urban.

Jackson is the recipient of many grants and awards including: NEA Artist In Resident Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts, and a NY State Council for the Arts (CAPS) Grant. Jackson was selected for an artist-in-residence fellowship at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1982, and the artist-in-residence fellowship at the Roswell Museum in 1994. He also completed the workshop residency at the Museum of Holography in 1987.

Jackson lives and works in rural, central New York State.

Walter C Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 16, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.058

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/16/2016

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

C.

Occupation
Schools

University of Tennesee

Jackson State University

Lanier High School

Smith Robertson School

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Durant

HM ID

JAC36

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

My studio

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is Until You Change It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

1/21/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

German chocolate cake

Short Description

Sculptor Walter C Jackson (1940- ) served as an assistant professor of art and an artist in residence at several universities and museums, and his work is included in public collections at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the National Civil Rights Museum.

Employment

Bronx River Art Center

Sacred Heart, 91th Street

Bronx Art Museum

York College City University of New York

University of Tennessee

Douglass High School

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter C. Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter C. Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter C. Jackson describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter C. Jackson describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter C. Jackson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter C. Jackson remembers his father's military service in World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter C. Jackson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter C. Jackson remembers the process of preparing and preserving a hog

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter C. Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his early religious experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Walter C. Jackson recalls his early schooling in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his childhood friends

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter C. Jackson recalls his early artistic influences and creating art as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter C. Jackson remembers his early interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter C. Jackson recalls developing his painting style

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter C. Jackson remembers receiving a full scholarship to Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter C. Jackson describes his coursework at Jackson State College

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter C. Jackson remembers musicians Dick Griffin and Freddie Waits

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Walter C. Jackson talks about the assassination of Medgar Evers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter C. Jackson remembers being hired as an art teacher at Douglass High School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter C. Jackson talks about desegregation at Douglass High School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter C. Jackson remembers helping students cope with the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter C. Jackson talks about the impact of desegregating schools

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter C. Jackson remembers applying for graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his early experiences at the University Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter C. Jackson remembers being accepted into the sculpture department at the University of Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his method of creating a sculpture

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter C. Jackson describes his technique and the theme of his work

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter C. Jackson recalls the artists at Studio Museum in Harlem in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his approach to teaching

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter C. Jackson remembers his work at the Museum of Holography

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter C. Jackson talks about teaching art workshops at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Walter C. Jackson remembers being commissioned for a sculpture at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his exhibit at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Walter C. Jackson describes his studio spaces in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Walter C. Jackson remembers Elizabeth Catlett

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Walter C. Jackson describes his artistic influences

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his political art series 'Illusion of Containment, Linked'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Walter C. Jackson recalls his activism in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Walter C. Jackson talks about the evolution of his work

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his work during the President George Walker Bush administration

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter C. Jackson describes his contribution to the 'The Politics of Racism' exhibition

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his Dogon tapestry series

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter C. Jackson describes his current creative process

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter C. Jackson talks about his focus on enjoying the art process

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter C. Jackson reflects upon the legacy of his work

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter C. Jackson shares his advice to young artists

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Walter C. Jackson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Walter C. Jackson describes his technique and the theme of his work
Walter C. Jackson reflects upon the legacy of his work
Transcript
Your work you describe as abstract, so how, what is your thought process when you are deciding on a piece you know that that--what it, from creative idea to execution of an abstract piece. What are you, what are you thinking?$$I'll a- there're a number of things that I, I'm kind of interested in. Work, my work for me is kind of like the totemic elements that kind of defines to some extent a time or period. And that it's just one thing in a long stream of stuff, so I, I tend to think of it as kind of a passage, a place in time. And as you move from one part to another part or you move to this, through this thing. I also think of it as sometimes physically as a passage in terms that a lot of my stuff is kind of opened where space becomes a very important part of it. As you can either move through it or you can at least see through it or which deals with this kind of continuation in a sense. And that operates on a lot of levels for me. It's the physical level of the thing and it's also the, the kind of personal level of development. And there're a couple of things that I'm interested in, I mean several things, one of them being and one of my influences is African sculpture. And the thing that attracts me about it especially work of the Dogon, the thing that attract me about a lot of African sculpture is that there seem to be a kind of interior energy in the piece. That yes it's a static thing but not really 'cause it has the potential fo- to grow or develop into something. Or actually to move and I've always liked that about it, that quality you know I thought I'd like for my work to have that kind of energy. That I don't necessarily want the pieces in the section jetting all over the place and just, but I want it to sat there with the sense that it could ha- that something could happen to it. It could explode, it could do a lot of things, get up and walk away, so that was always an important part.$$From the, from the early days?$$From the early days of the sculpture and the idea of totems or icons were always important to me. And it was a matter of kind of fusing all of that in, into a statement. And I thought well what I wanna do is to kind of do forms, do shapes, define space in a way that someone either could physically (unclear) interact with that object. With that space as they move through, around the piece, they come--become to some extent a part of that piece. That the piece doesn't just exist by itself, but that the viewer becomes to some extent a part of it. And as a result of that some of the earlier things to kind of bring in that interaction. I actually did a whole series of pieces that involved lights, movement, touch switches and things. That I did a series of let at--excuse me of electronic pieces at one time, and using a lot of proximity switches or lights that interacted with sound and the voice. And things that reacted to touch, especially light and pieces, so that there would be the kind of really physical interaction. I don't do as much of that now 'cause I told myself that the work actually can do that without the electronics; and just let it do it on its own as it manifests.$When you look at the body of work that you've created over your life, what is the legacy that you hope it represents?$$Well I--there, I guess one of the things that I hope it represents in, which is the recurring theme in all the work, is a connectedness. I, I would hope that it would suggest healthy--but you think about the relationship and the importance of the past with the present and the potential for the future. That all of that that these things exist and that everything is kind of a part of a ongoing continuum and that somewhere along that line you, you make a statement which is basically a totem of your time, and that someone might look at that and be able to make that connection with things that are past, and hopefully see some suggestion with some of the things to come. I like to think what I'm doing now especially has been positive and that the work suggests the kind of hopefulness. That's pretty much it (laughter).$$Do you have any regrets?$$None. Would I've done a few things differently? Possibly yes, but regrets, no. No, I'm able to look back on it and all the good, all the bad; and I'm pretty happy.