Surls’ Swirls Come to the Wynne Home

By Megan Chapa

James Surls, the American Modern artist and SHSU alum, opened a show at the Wynne Home Arts Center on Saturday, November 5, 2016.  The event attracted more than 100 visitors, with the opening reception sponsored by the Friends of the Wynne and staffed by the LEAP Ambassadors.

Wynne Home Arts Center, Karla Rosales, Kaitlyn Tyra

“Wynne Home exhibit openings are always fun,” noted LEAP President Alejandra Galvan, “but this one, involving James Surls, was a special honor.”

It was a sentiment shared by many of those who attended the opening reception.

Wynne Home Arts Center, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU

James Surls graduated from SHSU in 1965 with his Bachelors in Arts, and from Cranbrook Academy of Art with his MFA in 1968.  His distinctive style, often marked by wooden or bronze flower petals, is often described as “organic.”

James Surls, Wynne Home Arts Center, LEAP Center, SHSU

Included in the Wynne Home exhibit was a combination of Surls’ sculptures and sketches, both of which elicited praise from the opening night’s visitors.

“We have seen Surls’ work at many museums,” noted LEAP Ambassador Megan Chapa, “but we haven’t seen his smaller pieces, and we have never had the chance to meet him, so this was nice!”

Surls was personable, speaking for about 15 minutes and explaining some of the pieces in the show.  He divided them into feminine and masculine pieces, with the feminine pieces being more curved; the masculine pieces being more angular.  He also spoke of his love for his wife, and how it has impacted his art.

James Surls, Wynne Home Arts Center, LEAP Center, SHSU

Following his discussion, Mr. Surls was nice enough to sign some photos of his work that we brought to the show.  He graciously did so, while chatting comfortably with us.

James Surls, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Wynne Home Arts Center

The exhibit will stay up for six months, twice the usual length of a show.  In the past, the Wynne Home has had exhibits featuring David Adickes, Jesus Moroles, Ken Zonker, and Stanley Lea.

The Wynne Home also offers art classes to the public in the Fall, Spring, and Summer.  The classes include topics as diverse as classic film, salsa dancing, oil painting, and cooking.  The Wynne Home is open Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free.

The LEAP Ambassadors would like to thank Wynne Home Director Linda Pease, Friends of the Wynne President Nancy Gaertner,  Friends of the Wynne Vice President Genevive Brown, and the entire Friends of the Wynne board for the opportunity to assist.  And, of course, we’d like to thank Mr. James Surls for his art and for his appearance in Huntsville, Texas.


Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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