PROFILE: UM art professor and sculptor retires after 42 years
Published 10:06 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
Forty-two years have passed since Ted Metz stepped onto the University of Montevallo campus in Shelby County as a new professor in the art department.
“I was so fortunate to get a teaching job,” Metz, 66, said on a bright September morning, nearly four months before retiring in January as the longest-serving faculty member at UM. “I’ve always considered myself fortunate and blessed. I was one of the real lucky ones.”
After graduating with a master’s degree in sculpture and ceramics from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., in 1973, a 20-something Metz was looking for a job in which his art and a stable income were not mutually exclusive.
“Our culture doesn’t support artists the way other cultures do,” Metz said. “The vast majority of us have to find employment. It seemed to me that teaching at a university was a great way to make a living.”
During his college years, first earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and then completing graduate school in South Carolina, Metz said he began to see the benefits of teaching –– of imparting his knowledge of sculpture and ceramics to students and reaping the rewards of their growth and contributions to his own work, as a professor and an artist.
“While I was in school, I looked at faculty (members) that were teaching me and realized what a wonderful job that was,” Metz said. “We (students) challenged our faculty, and that kept them on their toes.”
Metz, who was born in Ohio and raised in Virginia Beach, had started to enjoy living in the South during college and “applied to every school south of Virginia” for a chance to teach.
It was Montevallo that came calling, and he answered.