By Eve W. Engle

The dogs rule in our house. They are fed first, allowed in our bed, have their own bed in the guest room and sneak up onto the sofas when we aren't looking. Maxie, short for Maximus, is a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenes mix, Sammy is a Black Lab/Border Collie mix. His full name is Samuel L. Jackson after one of my favorite actors. Both were abused and rescued from their former owners. They get cookies every morning.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Indiana Farm Boy at 100: The Art Student

The John Herron Art Institute was established in 1902. Eventually renamed the Herron School of Art, by 1967 it was absorbed into Indiana University. But in 1935 Frank Engle was a poor boy with no source of tuition funding. A supporting teacher from Anderson High School understood how talented her student was, and encouraged him to apply to art school. She helped him put together a portfolio to show the faculty at Herron. They were impressed and he was accepted into the sculpture program.

Frank worked hard, really hard. But just because he was able to get into college didn't mean he had the money to survive. He nearly starved to death. Walking the trolley lines in Indianapolis where Herron was located, he would search for lost coins in hopes of finding enough for at least a  cup of coffee. He managed to get through this tough period. Under the tutelage of renowned sculptor David Kresz Rubins, he produced some of his best work while he was a student there. He did so well he won the prestigious Mary Milliken Award his senior year.

The Milliken Award was established in 1928 by William Milliken in honor of his wife. It is still being awarded to outstanding students in any medium. When Frank won the award in 1940 he hoped to use it to tour the best art museums and to study in Europe. But the Nazi's had other plans. Already in Poland, they invaded France in May of 1940 which made it impossible for him to tour Europe. That June, along with other two other award recipients, Loren Fisher and Floyd Hopper, Frank begin a trek of 18,000 miles. The three men toured the art centers along the East Coast, Canada, and Pacific Coast to California, and then down into Mexico instead. The men built a small caravan camper from scraps which they pulled behind Fisher's brand new car and traveled together studying ceramics, sculpture, painting, and other mediums by artists in North America. But all good things must come to an end. And did it ever when Japanese "zeros" attacked the American bases in Hawaii. Frank was no longer a student under the protection of a college. He was a man, and there was a war on.

Below: Frank as a student at Herron School of Art, c. 1939

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