The Colt School of Art

by Doug E. L. Haynes

Earlier this year I had the chance to meet an artist who shed some light on an interesting chapter in Wisconsin art history. Ray Ray who recently showed works at the UW-Madisonís Wisconsin Union Galleries told the story of how he along with other returning GIs studied art at a private institute located in Madison on the capitol square near the current site of the Historical Museum. The School was called the Colt school of art and was headed up by Arthur Colt. Ray said that the school was a breath of fresh air after having nearly frozen to death in the battle of the bulge. Ray recalls small (almost cramped) classes of 10 Ė12 students who worked with enthusiasm on assignments in drawing and painting. Arthur Colt had been trained in Europe and seems to have been on the UW faculty prior to launching his school, which ran for 40 years. Arthurís son John also had an impact on Wisconsin art having served on the UW-Milwaukee art faculty from 1950 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1990.