PROFILE: UM art professor and sculptor retires after 42 years

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Making differences at Montevallo

Metz has influenced many of his colleagues and students, and the UM Art Department as a whole, in his 42 years on faculty.

Clint Green, a graduate student in the Alternative Masters program in Art Education, was in Metz’s Metal Casting and Mold Making class as an undergraduate student in 2002.

Metz, the other University of Montevallo professors and students in the art department have access to a wide range of equipment and tools. (For the Reporter/Dawn Harrison)

Metz, the other University of Montevallo professors and students in the art department have access to a wide range of equipment and tools. (For the Reporter/Dawn Harrison)

“Ted’s presence as a professor was one to be admired,” Green said. “It was an inspiring time for me and I was greatly influenced by the work Ted was doing then. After graduating I moved to Wyoming but returned annually and always made it a point to come back to Montevallo to see Ted.”

Cherish Roodhouse, 26, is a senior at UM and took Metz’s introduction to sculpture, metal fabrication and public sculpture classes.

“In introduction to sculpture Ted taught us how to utilize different materials to make a variety of sculptures, how to pour metal and how to speak critically and eloquently about art and the message we are trying to convey through our artwork,” Roodhouse said. “In metal fabrication he taught us how to use a wide range of welding and blacksmith techniques, and how to plan and conceptualize a work of art in a professional manner. I would describe Ted as a professor who is passionate about his art and teaching, and as someone who is professional while still maintaining a sense of humor and empathy for others.”

Roodhouse noted Metz’s willingness to help students work through issues and bouts of “artist block” with their projects.

“I always remember him telling me that I was a better artist than I gave myself time to be,” Green added. “Ted could recognize potential and encourage it in the most subtle of ways.”

Shannon Turek, a 22-year-old senior at UM, took Introduction to Sculpture, Environmental Sculpture, Stone Carving, Metal Fabrication, Metal Casting and Public Art with Metz.

“Ted has taught me too many things to list but I think the greatest thing he passes on to his students is his wealth of knowledge,” Turek said. “If there is anything you can’t figure out Ted always knows how to make it work. Ted is an amazing human being and the best professor I’ve ever had. He helps us to grow and mature as artists but he definitely has a humorous touch. I feel like our classes have been more like a family.”

Dr. Scott Meyer, a professor of art at UM, interviewed with Metz and was hired for a job at the university in the fall of 1986.

“When I got here, I saw Ted capable of building just about anything,” Meyer said. “Basically, he’s a MacGyver as a university sculptor.”

With his “can-do spirit,” Metz excelled in his own artistic arena, attracted like-minded people to the art department and sparked progress for its resources.

Meyer said Metz, with then-art department chairman Frank McCoy, spearheaded the installment of a faculty studio on campus.

“One of the things I noticed from the beginning of my time here is they had a high priority of giving studio space for art faculty,” Meyer said. “We’re there teaching and also doing our own part.”

Meyer described Metz as a “tremendous role model,” a professor who had good rapport with his students and who contributed to the camaraderie among faculty members.

“It’s serious fun,” Meyer said of working with Metz. “I’m happy for him that he’s retiring and I hope it’s a wonderful chance to do what’s in his heart to do, but boy, it’s hard.”