Leaving a legacy of art: Dr. Harold Daum

Leaving a legacy of art: Dr. Harold Daum

RIP Dr. Daum. You were a HUGE asset to our region and to the world of artists working with clay. Dr. Daum lost a battle with cancer on December 28. Cary and I drove to Sedalia last night for the opening of a couple of shows at the Daum Museum. I’m color blind (literally) and even I could see rich hues in many of the works in their Permanent Collection.

Your fan in KC,MO

The following story was taken from The Sedalia Democrat

By Nicole Cooke – ncooke@civitasmedia.com

About a week before the public opening of the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Dr. Harold Daum points out a series of Andy Warhol silkscreens from his collection being installed in the museum on Jan. 15, 2002, to Stephen Poort, who was State Fair Community College president at the time.

Dr. Harold F. Daum, a former Sedalia doctor and the founder of the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art’s collection, died Monday in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the age of 92.

Daum was the second radiologist to join Bothwell Regional Health Center, working there from 1959 until his retirement in 1984, according to “Bothwell Regional Health Center: A Lifetime of Caring.”

According to his obituary, Daum was born July 13, 1923, in Crete, Nebraska. He graduated from Crete High School in 1941 and attended Doane College. He was a World War II U.S. Army veteran and upon his return he attended the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he earned his medical degree. He practiced medicine in Shelby, Nebraska, for a brief time, followed by his residency in radiology in Kansas City.

Dr. Harold F. Daum, a former Sedalia doctor and the founder of the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art’s collection, died Monday in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the age of 92.

Daum was the second radiologist to join Bothwell Regional Health Center, working there from 1959 until his retirement in 1984, according to “Bothwell Regional Health Center: A Lifetime of Caring.”According to his obituary, Daum was born July 13, 1923, in Crete, Nebraska. He graduated from Crete High School in 1941 and attended Doane College. He was a World War II U.S. Army veteran and upon his return he attended the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he earned his medical degree. He practiced medicine in Shelby, Nebraska, for a brief time, followed by his residency in radiology in Kansas City.

State Fair Community College art instructors Vicki Weaver, Don Luper and art student Tim Jackson, right, hang the Harold Daum collection Jan. 15, 2002.

Dr. Joe Bennett, a local ophthalmologist, said Daum did X-rays for him since opening his opthamology practice in Sedalia in 1966 until Daum’s retirement.“He’d come in at any time of night if I needed him; he was certainly superb,” Bennett said of Daum. “… He was absolutely great, a wonderful individual to work with. … One of the greatest guys I ever knew in the medical practice.”While Daum spent his career helping others medically, he may be most known for his generosity to the art community in West Central Missouri. It was Daum who donated his personal collection of roughly 200 paintings and ceramics in 1999 to start the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art at State Fair Community College.

Tom Piche, director of the Daum Museum since 2008, worked with Daum and the acquisitions committee to add to the growing art collection.“The core of the collection was based on works he had collected starting in the 1970s, so he had a very good grasp of the character of the museum’s permanent collection,” Piche said. “He was very invested in making sure it grew and in a way that enhanced his original holdings. He was a very informed connoisseur of art and especially art as it pertained to his collection.”

According to information from SFCC, the original collection included paintings by renowned artists such as Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Larry Poons and Gene Davis, and abstract sculptural ceramics by Peter Voulkos, Jim Leedy, Jun Kaneko and Ken Ferguson.

Don and Kenda Maples, of Sedalia, contemplate “Illinois Landscape,” an oil painting by Harold Gregor during the public opening Jan. 26, 2002, of the Daum Museum on the State Fair Community College campus.

Doug Freed, former director of the Daum Museum from 1999 to 2008 and former SFCC art instructor, knew Daum since 1969 when Freed and his wife moved in next door to Daum. Since then, Freed helped Daum amass his impressive personal collection and helped with the design and opening of the museum.“I worked very intimately with Hal collecting art for many years — 40 years,” Freed said. “He started collecting art on a nationally significant basis in the 1970s, very important paintings. Some of the pieces he collected during the ’70s and ’80s are some of our most valuable paintings in the museum. It goes way further back before the museum was started.

“… It was absolutely incredible,” Freed said of helping Daum with his art collection. “It was a great gift to me to be able to do that. I’d been an exhibiting artist all those years. It was a great thing for me because I was looking and seeing as I saw things in galleries … I was his spotter basically. I would bring things to his attention. He was so astute, he would study them. His knowledge of contemporary art grew every year, he subscribed to all the major art magazines.”

Freed said Daum is considered one of the premier art collectors in Missouri and the Midwest. With more than 2,000 pieces in the Daum Museum collection, “a large percentage of those are from (Daum’s) own collection,” Freed said, with pieces spanning from 1968 to present.Both Freed and Piche said Daum wasn’t one to ask for recognition, but rather wanted to share his love of art with the community without having to travel to Kansas City or St. Louis.“The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art is in many ways a unique venue for a community the size of Sedalia and not really just Sedalia but for West Central Missouri,” Piche said. “I think that his legacy is that he will be introducing generations of children to art, especially those who might not have had easy access to art. He’s enabled them to have an introduction at a very early age to some of the best art being made anywhere.”

“Unititled, 1984,” by Arnold Zimmerman, a glazed stoneware piece that was a gift from Dr. Harold Daum’s collection, is seen outside the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art Tuesday afternoon.

The Daum Museum has garnered national attention, going far beyond the city limits of Sedalia, with articles appearing in major newspapers across the country when the museum first opened in 2002. Not only has the museum offered an opportunity to view international artwork, but it has also served as a “magnet” for other donors, Freed said.“It’s hard to equate what he’s done for this community,” Freed said. “He’s one of the city’s greatest benefactors, when it comes to doing things for the community. It’s all art-related, that was his focus; without Daum the museum would not exist. And it’s been a major thing to attract other gifts in the community to the college. It’s been a magnet for giving and he’s certainly one of the great examples for that.”Last month, Daum received the Award of Distinction from the Missouri Community College Association for his donations to SFCC and the museum. According to information from SFCC, he donated his personal art collection, $2.25 million for the museum’s construction and $500,000 in matching funds to create an acquisitions endowment for future purchases. His gifts are valued at more than $5 million.

Dr. Harold Daum

Daum, a trained botanist, also had a love of natural art — he was a member of the American Hemerocallis Society, which is comprised of people who love and grow day lilies.Freed said Daum, a “premier grower of day lilies,” had about 15,000 day lilies growing at his home at any given time, with 5,000 individual unique lilies in his “mother bed” that he would rotate each year. National tours from the society frequently included stops at Daum’s gardens, which included varieties he created himself. Those new varieties were donated to various floral organizations across Missouri.“I was walking through his garden about 20 years ago, a big bus from Oklahoma City came to see his garden,” Freed said. “… We were walking through his day lilies and I said something to this woman, who was high up in the society. I said, ‘I don’t think Hal has ever registered a single lily.’ She said, ‘no he hasn’t.’ I said, ‘I guess he figured they weren’t good enough to register.’“She stopped and looked at me she said, ‘every plant in this garden is registerable.’ That was quite something for me to know. He just never took the time to do that. He wasn’t interested in recognition, he wasn’t in any way. He was so private. It was purely for his own enjoyment and to share it with the world.”

 Images below are courtesy Mo Dickens:
Glenda Taylor Memorial NCECA ride update

Glenda Taylor Memorial NCECA ride update

Lots of folks have been asking me about this ride, and I am thrilled to be able to say that Women’s Free State Racing, which was the team Glenda raced with, will be hosting the ride. (If you missed the initial post about this ride, you can check that out here) Many cyclists who rode and raced with Glenda from this area are excited to participate and meet their “counterparts” in Glenda’s clay family.  I can’t help but imagine how happy Glenda would be about bringing together all the people she loved.  I am absolutely certain that the huge smile that always lit up her face will be beaming down on us from above.

Please keep in mind that in Kansas City, it might be 60 or 16 on March 15th…probably somewhere in the middle of that, I am going to guess 45ºF…(we can maybe start a pool on the temp separately….)  But I’m a firm believer in the quote “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”  🙂

We are currently working on planning the routes & figuring out what support we need for the ride right now.  Please help us out by filling out the form below.


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Thanks for your interest in this event.  We believe that Glenda would LOVE the thought of her cycling friends and her clay friends co-mingling and getting to know one another.   Please fill out this form so we can get a full count of riders, which will help us plan the necessary support for this ride.


Please note – information regarding this ride appears on the NCECA blog as a means to get the word out to NCECA membership who want to stay informed about all opportunities surrounding the conference.  This ride is not an official NCECA event, rather it is being planned by the local community.

The Fearless Nature of Being: The Legacy of Don Reitz

The Fearless Nature of Being: The Legacy of Don Reitz

As the 2014 NCECA conference started in Milwaukee, the news of Don Reitz’s passing on March 19 at his home in Clarkdale, Arizona, sent rippling shock waves throughout the audience and beyond.  He was 84 and throughout his six-decade career, he continued to push his artistic vision, inspiring generations of ceramic practitioners.  Don was a modern day folk legend and larger-than-life.  As a master ceramist, Don Reitz produced new and exciting work with his innovative and adaptable practice.

-Peter Held, from the 2015 NCECA Journal, page 12.

At the 2015 conference, Don was honored as one of our “Past Masters”  Peter Held spoke beautifully about Don’s life, art, & philosophy.  Below, you can view a video of the presentation.

Life is not a dress rehearsal; you only have one shot at it.

-Don Reitz, August 20, 2011

Phil Cornelius Remembrance

Phil Cornelius Remembrance

I met the iconic Phillip Cornelius in the 80’s during my graduate studies at the University of Texas, San Antonio while I was an intern resident artist at the former Southwest Craft Center. Phil came to the Center as a visiting artist for one month when he guided me in the craft but importantly the concepts of clay as a medium of abstract artistic expression. Three years later while co- director under John Wilson at the Lakeside Studios in Lakeside Michigan I invited Phil to Michigan. Youth with a degree overestimates its wisdom.  He taught me as well as others without condescension or criticism the power of an artist and the purpose of its works. Lakeside Studios sent me to Latvia and Phil to Lithuania in 1989 where we met up in the former Soviet Union, and our worlds changed. Over the years we met and talked. Each time I learned. The world will miss his presence with only some clay to view. But his spirit still prevails. His greatest contribution to the world of art is not the work he left behind but the minds he expanded.

I cannot do any more justice than his obituary:

Phillip G. Cornelius (1934- 2015)

Phillip Age 80, an artist, mentor, and longtime friend, Ceramic Professor at Pasadena City College, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 19. Born in San Bernardino in 1934, he grew up in Ontario, CA and graduated from Chaffey High School. He led a colorful life traveling several paths as a young grocery bagger, a US Army soldier, a science major at San Jose State University, a certified pilot, and as an acclaimed artist and professor. He obtained his MFA degree in 1965 at the Claremont graduate School and has been working as an artist and ceramist ever since. While many universities have closed their ceramics programs over the years, Phillip is credited with making the Pasadena City College Ceramic Department a premier studio and envy of art programs everywhere.  His science background served him well when he discovered his passion for ceramics and in the early 1970’s developed his signature “thinware”, which is ultra-thin and fired “right to the edge.” Phillip once said he was very aware of his ability to “do the wrong thing and have it come out right.” Colleagues believe he shattered the ole image of ceramics as a craft and he boldly moved this age-old skill into the world of the fine arts. His abstract expressionism, cutting edge construction and imagery are seen within his art. Phillip’s work includes his signature porcelain pieces , which resemble tanks, airplanes, and ships in the form of an abstract teapot. The teapots represent so much more than what the eye beholds. Many of his pieces can be seen in major museum collections throughout the world including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.


Phil is survived by: his oldest son Charles Cornelius, his wife Tana, their three children, Ashley, Brooke, and West; his youngest son, Andrew and his wife Tara Cornelius.

Joyce Jablonski, Professor of Art, Head of Ceramics, University of Central Missouri

Remembering Glenda Taylor

Remembering Glenda Taylor

In retrospect, the sudden orchestra of lightening that traversed the sky from Lawrence to Kansas City last Thursday evening was certain to hold an important lesson. The beauty, suddenness and power of the storm were a reminder that we cohabit a world filled with forces larger and more unknowable than our awareness. Earlier that evening, your NCECA Board was sharing time with old and new friends gathered at he Lawrence Art Center, excited at the approach of NCECA’s conference to the region. Among those gathered was the friendly and supportive face of recent NCECA Secretary Glenda Taylor, who early Sunday morning was struck and killed by a vehicle while warming up on her bike for the Kansas Time Trial.

As I contemplate the inevitability of my own physical aging, I reflect on my own personal history. I’ve been working with clay since I was 14, exploring various forming methods and how my actions leave their permanent mark on the clay. The creative process of forming has always provided at least part of the inspiration for whatever idea I’m exploring. I feel as if the clay is telling me what it should be; I work as a partner with the material… 

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Stoneware Bottle by Glenda Taylor from the collection of 
Linda and Sheldon Ganstrom

“My Ceramic Sister, Glenda Taylor died today,” writes Linda Ganstrom. “Like a big sister, Glenda always impressed me with her skills, accomplishments, cool demeanor and passions for art, cycling, travel, service and people. I loved her curly hair and the way her eyes lit up when she smiled. I loved her optimism and willingness to find a way to make things work. I loved her desire for excellence. I am so thankful she set me on the path to my first college teaching job at Barton County Community college and trusted me with her students and lab. I’ve loved living with her pots and will continue to remember her through them and our shared service to NCECA and Kansas Artist Craftsmen Association.”


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Glenda Taylor, Solo Blue and White Bloom, 4” x 3” x 3”

A lifelong Kansan, Glenda was Professor and Chair of Art at Washburn University where she taught courses in ceramics, sculpture and art education. As a Fellow of Washburn University’s Center for Kansas Studies, she recalled, “My first art experiences involved digging clay in my dad’s pasture and trying to make things out of it. I’m still trying to express ideas in clay, and much of the inspiration for my art comes from the land around me.” Glenda’s wall forms, sculptures and vessels drew from the places, people and natural forces that shaped her, drawing inspiration from personal memories, experiences and a sense of the passage of time as expressed through geologic formations. A tornado-like form she often returned to in more recent work indicated her continual awareness of powerful agents of change. Glenda’s attentiveness to nature, and sense of fairness and decency were essential to her work with students, colleagues and the NCECA community that she served with heart and wisdom.

Eleanor Heimbaugh shares, “I had the privilege of being one of Glenda’s undergraduate students in ceramics at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas where she nurtured my love of clay and cycling.  Students were Glenda’s number one priority and she was always willing to stop her day in order to help a student in need.  When I would thank Glenda for the gifts she had given me through her mentorship she would simply reply, ‘Pass it on’.  This was Glenda, the silent hero who gave and expected nothing in return.  Glenda touched many people’s lives in a positive way as a dedicated teacher, department chair, athlete, and passionate leader in her community.  A memorable phrase she once said to me was ‘Whatever you do with your life, you do it with gusto and passion.’”

My current exploration of content and form is exciting, challenging, and a little frightening. Recently, I have expanded the forms to include more direct reference to flora and the precarious existence of plant life. It is difficult to face the truths revealed through physical representation of decay and decline. Is there anything positive that I can express through this work? Is there beauty to be found in the process of dying? Only through making the work will my questions be answered. 

Glenda studied at Bethany College, Emporia State University and Kansas State University where she earned her MFA in ceramics in 1985. National Art Education Association, 1978-1987 She served NCECA as Director at Large from 2005-2008, returned as Secretary from 2010-14, and was also President Elect (1989), President (1990-92), and Board Member (1992-93) of the Kansas Artist Craftsmen Association. Glenda’s perspectives were highly sought after and her broad mindset continually provided a richly informed perspective. Her many active years as member and board member of NCECA made her participation in a think tank meeting in partnership with the Chipstone Foundation immensely impactful. Her immeasurable contributions to NCECA were blended with humility and a deepest respect for others.  At the time of her passing, Glenda was serving as a special presidential appointee to NCECA working on development for our 50th year celebrations in Kansas City.


NCECA Past President Patsy Cox writes, “Glenda was a truly humble and altruistic individual who invariably made her way to the background when a spotlight was cast. Content to let others shine, she also found joy in their success, while applauding from the sidelines. The truth of it is that Glenda was an instrumental force in all the accomplishments that happened in her vicinity. Strong, diplomatic, rational and always supportive, Glenda’s was the face of calm when things became intense or overwhelming. One glance at Glenda steadied the boat. She left a serious impact on NCECA and we all feel honored and extremely proud to have been part of the board that got to work with her. She set a high bar in everything she did … her cycling, her teaching, her creative work and countless other activities. Her example will continue to inspire our dedication to something bigger than ourselves.”

Our hearts go out in sorrow to Joe Saia, Glenda’s family, colleagues, friends, students and all those whose lives she touched.