Fine Art’s William Keith Work on Display

Northwest Vista College Fine Arts Professor William Keith’s art work is on display in the Palmetto Center for the Arts gallery through Dec 14.

Keith has been teaching at Northwest Vista College for the past 17 years, being the second full-time art instructor hired by the college; Mimi Duval was the first.

This extremely large, one-person show consists of weavings done on a small, hand-held loom. His work falls into the category of being non-representational. This type of art does not have any known or recognizable objects in the work. What the viewer sees are simply lines, shapes, colors and textures.

“I work this way,” says Keith, “so the viewer can focus strictly on the qualities of the color, the shapes, the texture and the combinations of those assets. I believe these elements are God’s gifts to humanity. When we see their beauty we know God is with us all.”

Keith then includes many of these weavings into a frame that contains design elements, such as ceramic tiles and wooden blocks, as well as iconic symbols such as crosses, hearts, Texas steers, dear horns and conchos.

Keith has been a working artist since 1976 when he graduated from the Memphis College of Art in Memphis, Tenn.. Before moving to San Antonio, Keith was the managing editor of “ArtScene” magazine and later owner and publisher of “In Art” magazine, both in Houston. Once in San Antonio, Keith, along with David Freeman, published “Voices of Art” magazineHe has shown his work in 11 different states, three different countries and had numerous articles written about his art.

At NVC, Keith has taught mostly painting and design, but says the greatest impact he has had on the department and college has been the Internet Arts Appreciation course he designed.

“We take internet courses totally for granted today, but 17 years ago, nobody wanted to teach them or even knew how to do it,” says Keith. “Back then the few internet courses that were available usually only required the students to read a chapter in a book and take a test. That was all. Edgar Garza, who was the chair of the art department at that time, asked me to develop a student-centered course.”

After giving it a lot of thought, Keith created an interactive course where the students primarily taught each other. Keith wrote all the lectures and quizzes, but put the students into small, working groups so they could discuss their views and opinions about art on a personal level.

Keith says, “The word ‘appreciation’ means to be aware. The best way to be aware of something is to talk to other people about it; get their opinions and share yours. The way for students to appreciate art is for them to talk to each other, openly and honestly, being guided by the instructor.”


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