Alumni Spotlight | Gail Hood (Visual Arts '60)

Was there a specific faculty member or peer who especially inspired you while at the School of the Arts? If so, who and how?

Peppino Mangraviti, my advisor, said after the second month "If you keep painting those cows, you will not make it out of here?" I thought "OK, I think I'll try abstraction." A sort of painterly abstraction thinking about walking through sloughs worked for me. I liked John Heliker and his work.
 
How did attending the School of the Arts impact your work and career as an artist?

Luckily I became a teacher and then a professor of painting. It was a very satisfying job helped greatly by my strong background in art history from Albert Elsen at Carleton but out of Columbia and Shapiro at Columbia
What were the most pressing social/political issues on the minds of the students when you were here?

I don't think that we were politically involved. Most thought that Eisenhower was boring and then Kennedy became exciting. It was a very interesting time in art when galleries had windows on the first floor and abstraction was being challenged by Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, Robert Rauchenberg and others.
 
If you could revisit any piece you created during your time at the School of the Arts, which would it be? Why?

I would like to see the piece that the school kept of mine in 1960. My name at the time was Gail Johnson.
 
What was your favorite or most memorable class while at the School of the Arts?

Working out things by myself was the hardest and most interesting thing for me. that included the self study of Cezanne drawings and watercolor and developing a body of my own work. I regret that I did not study paint composition with Meyer.
 
 
About Gail Hood

After two years teaching fundamentals at Florida State Gail Hood married and returned to her home town teaching privately and in high schools until 1978 when she joined Southeastern Louisiana University faculty teaching design, drawing, advanced painting and History of Modern Art. In 1986 she was hired full time to teach color theory and painting then only teaching painting at all levels until she retired in 2006. She exhibits regionally. For the past six years she and her husband have operated a small contemporary gallery, but recently retired.
 
 
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.