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September 27, 2019
Giving Back: John Baker
John Baker’s Studio paints a portrait of an artist, teacher, and world traveler who’s spent decades supporting the arts and the artistic community. Past his motorcycles (he’s down to two), an inviting bar area welcomes friends. Upstairs, a three-room workspace-gallery facilitates a natural flow for his work in multiple mediums. Throughout, his own work hangs alongside pieces by friends and colleagues, “like portraits.” John carries colors, textures, and experiences from his travels into his three-dimensional pieces, which have been exhibited and found homes in collections around the world.
He attributes his sense of aesthetic balance and symmetry to his early work as a potter. He practices this balance in his life, too. Family time with his wife Sally, their daughters, and grandchildren, as well as his own studio time, ground him. He’s established deep roots in the creative soil of Chester County.
After graduating from West Chester University, he stayed to teach and then chair the art department until he retired in 2015. This May, WCU awarded him an honorary doctorate. John continues to encourage former students and fellow artists, to install shows, and to serve on boards including the WCU Foundation, the Art Trust, the Chester County Art Association, and the West Chester Public Arts Commission. He also supports the WCU gallery that bears his name through his endowment to bring diverse visiting artists to campus each year. “I failed at retirement,” he says with a smile. “But every day there’s something new and I have fun and love what I do.”
“I’m very fortunate,” he says. “My whole life has been these wonderful experiences which resonate in my work and my everyday living.”