The friendly atmosphere around Woods Quad is one of Leah (Tripp) Alford’s strongest memories of her time at UA. Alford graduated UA in 1971 with a BA in English and a minor in art history. She took many studio courses as well and was part of the Raudelunas art collective. These days she is working on a book that will include her mixed media paintings and photography.
In the 1960s, Alford took courses from professors Al Sella, Howard Goodson and Joe Bolt, among others. She remembers Sella and Goodson being “excellent instructors.” She writes, “Dr. Bolt’s brilliant way of making art history vital and fascinating drew me in every time. I suddenly found I had so many art history credits that it didn’t take many more to complete my art history minor.”
She recalls a popular meeting place at the west end of Woods Hall. “Everyone talked at the snack bar, ‘The Little Bo,’ (for Little Bohemia),“ Alford said. “The entire art department staff of that time was a really friendly group. They would say hello around Woods Hall whether you were in their classes or not. Faculty and staff from other departments were there too. It was a wonderful atmosphere.”
Alford remembers the stimulating intellectual and social climate of life at UA, too. Melville Price, an alumnus of the Art Students League in New York, taught here from 1958 until his death in 1970. Lee Krasner visited in 1967, as did other eminent artists. Alford recalls, “There were many great exhibitions here when I was in school, especially of Abstract Expressionism. Andy Warhol came [to visit UA campus] and I can recall being really excited. I remember standing next to him at a gathering afterwards at someone’s house.”
Alford credits Professor Henry Betak with giving her the direction she followed in her art after graduation. “[He] was a major influence on the ways I later built up fields of color and areas of drawings.” She posts some of those and her new works on her wonderfully titled blog, “Catwoods Porch Party,” http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/.