Audie Love taught art at Dos Pueblos High School from 1971-1999. He was one of only seven art teachers in the nation invited to Princeton in the ’90s to design the National Art Teacher’s Exam, and he conducted seminars on behalf of Educational Testing Service on Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art.
Audie was not only regarded as one of the top AP art teachers in the country, but he was also beloved by his students. “Even as adults far into their careers, many former students say there is something deep down that still wants to make Audie proud,” said art director and designer Mara Bosnak. Former students often credit Love’s early influence as a reason they pursued a creative professional career.
“Audie, I will always have a photo of you in my studio. You helped me become the person, teacher, artist that I am,” wrote artist and illustrator Tara Tucker.
“We may not have realized it at the time, but we were set on a path thanks to this man,” said Eirik Paye, an animation designer for Nickelodeon. “There isn’t a day I am working on my art that I don’t think about Audie.”
“He was, even in recent years, like a shining light to me,” painter Laurel Mines said. “His smile and frank, positive words encouraged me as a painter struggling to become a ‘real’ artist.”
A director at Gnomon School of Visual Effects and an illustrator, Andrea Adams, upon hearing news of Love’s passing, collected art supply donations from her students at Gnomon, “… all of whom benefited from Audie having been my teacher.” An outpouring of kind words from students on Facebook quickly led to piles of donations. “It’s extraordinary … the students never met Audie yet were touched — they remember their own experiences with special teachers who influenced them,” said Andrea.
“Thank you for being a guiding light and nurturing my talent in more ways than you know. You helped me become a successful working artist who realized her vision,” wrote Natalie Cederquist, a sculptor.
Nicole Strasburg, a landscape painter, recalls qualities that made Love’s teaching unique: “Audie was a humble spirit with a great sense of humor. He loved a good story, both hearing and telling. He supported exploration, promoted individuality, and championed pushing ideas to the edge. If you were committed, he was committed to helping you achieve success. And Heart was all Audie ever delivered.”
Mara Bosnak added: “Audie Love’s comprehensive, engaging curriculum should be the model standard for High School AP art classes taught throughout the country.” Love provided AP students a strong foundation in art history, life drawing, composition, and 2D/3D design principles. Rarely seen at the high school level, Audie taught his AP students how to build a quality, 40-piece portfolio — an effort that took students three to four years to complete and opened doors to top art schools. Upon graduation, portfolios were submitted to the College Board AP Studio Art Exam. Notable automotive illustrator and fabricator Chip Foose was also one of Audie’s former students.
After Audie retired, he and other retired teacher/artists created the Student Art Fund in 2006, a committee of the Santa Barbara Art Association with an endowment from the Santa Barbara Foundation. They recognized public schools have limited budgets for art supplies. More than 85 art classes in public junior high and high schools in Santa Barbara County are now able to experience throwing clay and printing with linoleum block and have canvas and paint thanks to the Student Art Fund. Eleven grants were awarded in 2014-15 for students to participate in activities such as the Empty Bowls Project benefiting Foodbank, a field trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Getty Museum, and designing an art and literary magazine, Local Color.
A Santa Barbara tradition Audie inadvertently began is the Grandparent Portrait Show. It started as a class assignment, but Ana Guevara, now an art therapist, told Audie that her portrait of her grandfather was the centerpiece at his funeral, and others told him their image of their grandparent had become a family heirloom. The most recent show at the Faulkner Gallery in April had more than 150 portraits in all media, selected from more than 400 submitted from most junior high and senior high art classes. Each portrait was framed by Audie and Student Art Fund members in Audie’s home.
“The idea of using art as a basis to open up an intergenerational dialogue between youth and elders in their life memorialized in portraits was brilliant!” said Ginny Brush, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission. “I jumped at the chance to help.” With funding support from the City of Santa Barbara’s Community Arts Grant, the program has continued and became a model other communities have since emulated.
Audie’s joy was to keep connected with his students, especially those who pursued art. His former AP art student Jeffrey Baykal-Rollins, who was named a Presidential Arts Scholar, wrote, “Audie prepared me to study at the best art schools in the world, and although I subsequently studied with many great teachers, to this day I have ONE true teacher: Audie Love. I often say that I am a student of Love, which means to live my life doing what I love and doing it as passionately as Mr. Love did.”
The work of the Student Art Fund will continue with Audie as our inspiration. Donations can be made to: Student Art Fund, PO Box 91928, Santa Barbara, CA 93190-1928. A gallery of grandparent portraits can be seen at studentartfund.org.
Written by the boardmembers of the Student Art Fund: Kris Buck, Sarah Carr, Anne Chesnut, Bay Hallowell, Sally Hamilton, Yessy Kim, Brennan Linnecke, and David Sanchez.