There are a lot of meet-cute stories at Herron School of Art and Design. One belongs to the departing duo of Linda Adele Goodine, former Chancellor’s Professor of Photography and Intermedia and Mark Richardson, former associate professor of Ceramics. A school secretary introduced them to each other a quarter of a century ago. “She said to Mark, ‘Look at that skinny photo instructor. She looks like she needs to be fed,’” recalled Goodine. They went to Some Guys, a popular place for pizza.
Their apartments were within walking distance of the school. Later, said Richardson, “We could have bought a small house, but we bought this crazy, empty church,” just a few degrees north on the same street in the historic neighborhood. The vast space, fronted by a lush garden today, became a hub for creative activity and socializing.
Richardson earned his M.F.A. degree from IU Bloomington in 1980. He started at Herron the same year as a visiting lecturer and stayed for 34 years. He retired in December 2014.
Goodine, who holds master’s degrees from Ithaca College (1981) and Florida State University (1983), was recruited in 1989 as a visiting artist. “I came with an established career and had 20 museum shows under my belt,” she said. Her 26-year career at Herron ended on May 31.
Both Richardson and Goodine have family on the east coast. His family is in Massachusetts. Although she was born in New York, Goodine said, “I came of age in the South as an artist and I go back down to the Gulf or the Everglades to do my work.” With their daughter, Ella Richardson Goodine, out of the nest and studying French theory and gendered sound art at Smith College, it was natural for the couple to look beyond the Midwest.
“I am well into my 50s, and I wanted to start spending more time in my studio,” said Goodine. “I probably would have stayed at Herron just a year or so longer.” However, a position in Greenville, North Carolina, caught her eye.
“It was as if the job description had been written for her,” Richardson said. So she has accepted the appointment as Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor in the School of Art and Design at Eastern Carolina University, beginning this August.
Goodine said she will be teaching three classes per year and have more time for research, including several book projects she has had in mind. “There’s a real connection fit-wise between there and Herron,” she said. “It has a very familiar feel.”
Richardson and Goodine said what they loved most about their time at Herron was their students.
“When you have a big group of curious people—for example, last semester’s junior class—I was so lucky to have them. They were ready to think differently at any moment,” said Goodine.
“You look at the art you make and the kids you teach as your children,” Richardson said.
Both professors empathize with parents’ varied reactions when students announce their plans to go to art school.
Richardson said his own parents were a little nervous but supportive.
“My dad wanted me to go to law school with my sister and start a family business,” said Goodine. “‘Why would you take a vow of poverty?’ he said. That worry for parents never changes—that connectedness to security and what that means for livelihood.”
“I try to teach my students to be full-brained, to reign in their intuition through technique and go past their craft,” she said. “If they never make another piece of art after they leave here is doesn’t matter. They have adaptability tenacity, and the ability to think critically.”
Richardson and Goodine still remember their early artistic influencers reverently. For Richardson, they were the international ceramicist Gregor Giesmann and folk potter Shoji Hamada. For Goodine, they were her grandfather, Arthur H. Richards, a photojournalist for Reuters and Gannett, and Roger Mertin, “a photographer’s photographer,” she said.
From Adele, I learned that good art starts from a place of questioning rather than knowing. Her great gift as an educator was to create a space where I could challenge what I thought I knew, about the world and myself, and use that inquiry as a basis for making better images.
She inspired this quest to really examine where the images come from inside yourself, and also to think more about how your art lives outside the classroom. A regular part of Adele’s curriculum was a public-service component; I loved finding out that art-making can go out of the studio and be a part of the community. It’s a wonderful way to keep your practice alive and fresh. In Adele’s classroom, we got this sense that what we do as artists is powerful and important. I’ve kept that feeling throughout my career.
“We will miss our colleagues. We’ve said goodbye to many people and been happy because they are going on to more adventures,” said Richardson.
A title from one of the airport commissions sums it up best for Richardson and Goodine: Bon Voyage, Fly, Perfect.