PROFILE: UM art professor and sculptor retires after 42 years

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Educational and artistic honors

Metz has been honored in his educational and artistic endeavors.

In 1980, he was named a University Scholar and Distinguished Teacher of the Year in the College of Fine Arts at UM.

He was named Distinguished Teacher of the Year again in 1986.

He was inducted as a faculty member into the UM chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and received the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award from the University of Montevallo National Alumni Association in 1995.

In 1997, the Carnegie Foundation Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named Metz Alabama Professor of the Year.

Metz’s artistic honors include Visual Artists Fellowship awards for $5,000 each in 1986 and 2014 from the Alabama State Council for the Arts, and a National Endowment for the Arts Building Arts Program Grant for $5,000 to develop architectural panels in concrete in 1982.

His work has been featured in more than 150 exhibitions.

In addition to his time as a UM professor, Metz served as a professor of art for the University of Georgia Study Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy, in 1987.

Contributions to the community

Metz is a founding board member of the Montevallo Sister City Commission and has been actively involved in Montevallo’s relations with Echizen, Japan, since 1995.

“This commitment has allowed me to travel to Japan on seven occasions leading various delegations to establish a Sister City relationship and setting up several educational, theatrical, musical and artistic exchanges,” Metz wrote.

Metz worked with Montevallo’s current mayor, Dr. Hollie Cost, to establish Montevallo as a Sister City of Echizen in 2008.

“He approached me during my first or second term as a council member to talk about the relationship he had established with Echizen,” Cost said.

As part of the Sister City agreement, Montevallo presented to Echizen a gift of 10 sculptures that originated from Echizen children’s drawings and were sculpted by UM art students in a collaborative exchange.

UM students installed the sculptures in a public park in Echizen in 2009.

Cost called Metz a friend, and said, “I feel like I’ve known him all my life.”

She noted his willingness to help others. For example, his public sculpture class designed bike racks to be installed on the UM campus, she said.

“We got to work on that together,” Cost said. “He’s always open and interested in working on really whatever projects we need him to be involved with.”

Cost said Metz works with children on sculpture, too.

“I think he impresses upon them how powerful these sculptures can be, or art can be, in the community,” Cost said.

Metz completed a sculpture project for Montevallo Elementary School, phase 1 and 2, in 2007 and 2008. MES students’ drawings were selected by UM art students and translated into large public sculptures, which were installed on campus.

His community service also includes Habitat For Humanity, Montevallo then Shelby County Board of Directors from 1992-2001, and construction foreman in 1996.