WILMINGTON — After 38 years, a local art professor will be putting away his brushes.
Hal Shunk, a professor of art at Wilmington College, will be retiring from his position at the end of this school year. The longtime educator told the News Journal he had reached retirement age and thought this would be the best time to leave.
“I thought this would be a good time to get out when I was still young and enjoy travel and life,” said Shunk.
During his time at Wilmington College, he taught a variety of art classes. These included art history, design, painting and drawing, printmaking, and photography.
“A lot of hats,” he said. “At a small college, you tend to do a bit of everything.”
He was a printmaking major when he was in college, and upon getting his job at Wilmington College, he had to adapt.
“It was a challenge but it was one I was open to,” he said. “In fact, some of my favorite classes are now my art history and design classes.”
What he loved about those classes was the variety of students he taught. He said everyone was there for a different reason. Whether it was an agriculture student there to hear about those that painted horses, or the psychology students there for the surrealist painters.
Looking back he recalled almost nothing but good memories about his tenure.
“It’s pretty much been a blessing. I’ve had some really great students in the past. It’s a real community of people that care a lot about each other,” he said.
One of the few low points he could think of was when the college dropped the art major in 2017.
“That was very difficult to take. But we worked through it,” he said.
Shunk wasn’t only the art professor for the college, but for awhile he was the assistant women’s soccer coach. He said a lot of great memories came from when he coached. He also looked back fondly on the work he did with the Greek organizations (fraternities and sororities).
“I had been a Greek advisor off and on for about 30 years,” he said. “They are some of the most intelligent, the hardest working bunch of students I’ve ever been associated with.”
The job has also allowed him to travel to visit museums and galleries around the world.
“I would take students and we would see museums, cathedrals, those types of things. It was really great,” he said.
He thought all those trips were collectively great — one in particular he highlighted was when he traveled to Amsterdam with the men’s soccer team. He noted that while they were there they got to see the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrandt.
“It was wonderful,” he said.
As for what’s next for Shunk, he wants to travel with his wife and he’ll continue to work on his own art at his studio. He currently has his art showing at Front Street Artists in the Betty Gallery in Dayton until the end of April.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574