Gary L. Freeman in memoriam

Gary L. Freeman (1937-2014)

Professor Emeritus of Sculpture Gary L. Freeman died on January 6, 2014 in hospice care. According to the Herron Chronicle, he came to Herron in the fall of the 1968-69 academic year to teach sculpture and establish the school’s foundry, which he did in a former radiator shop on 16th Street a block or so from the school. “With our casting system,” he said at the time, “students will learn how to control production of a piece of metal sculpture through the finishing process.” That meld of thinking and making is still a hallmark of Herron School of Art and Design today.

During demonstrations in the new facility, he told attendees, “Sculpture is a life of exploration, whether it be figurative or nonrepresentational. Only by exploring the many facets can a trained artist find his aspirations.” Freeman headed the Sculpture Department for 33 years, retiring in 2001.

Freeman was born in Wellington, Kansas. He earned a B.F.A. degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and an M.F.A. degree from Tulane University. He studied stainless steel production methods in Mexico and throughout Europe.

During his academic career, he maintained an active studio life including numerous public and private sculptural commissions. Dislike of the limelight notwithstanding, he was widely regarded as a preeminent sculptor in Indianapolis. His work is in 23 public and private collections, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Newcomb Art School, Tulane University.

Perhaps his most beloved work on display in Indianapolis is For Endless Trees, in front of WFYI’s studios at 1630 N. Meridian St.

“I am sad for Gary’s passing,” said Herron’s Dean Valerie Eickmeier. “He was a longtime friend and colleague who made a difference in my life and countless others. Gary shaped the careers of many young sculptors who continue to be grateful for his mentorship. Characteristically, Gary did not want a funeral service. But there will be a remembrance celebration at Herron for him this spring.” Details will be announced later.

Freeman is survived by his loving wife and partner of more than 30 years, Sally Rice Freeman.

Those wishing to make a contribution to the Gary L. Freeman Scholarship can send them to:

Kim Hodges, Director of Development Herron School of Art and Design 735 W. New York Street Indianapolis, IN 46202

Checks should be made payable to Herron/IUF. For questions, Kim Hodges can be reached at or 317-278-9472.

For a beautiful, long-form remembrance of Gary L. Freeman written by his colleague Steve Mannheimer, click here.