A stimulating art teacher

Ervin Nowicki, Art Educator, Artist and Friend

by Vergi Driscoll

On March 12, 2007, Erv Nowicki, passed from this world to become the 'colorist of eternity'. He was 85 years old. A wonderful and stimulating art teacher as well as coach at Whitefish Bay High School for 30 years, he touched the lives of many students. His joy for teaching was evident in his pleasant and helpful demeanor and his expertise in the field of art and art education. Giving back to others, especially with his students, what he himself had learned and experienced was just part of this man.

Being an artist as well as an art teacher, Erv was an active member of Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art, MATA, for many years serving as president of the organization, He was an avid supporter of the artist-teacher concept. He also was very active in Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors, exhibiting his work in shows and serving as Treasurer of the organization.

Erv was a graduate of Pulaski High School (1939), Wisconsin State College (BS, 1946) after returning from service in World War II, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (M.S.E. 1952). In addition to teaching at Whitefish Bay HS, he taught at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, the University of Saskatchewan, and Milwaukee Country Day School.

As many men of this time period, Erv was a proud veteran of World War II. He was a member of the US Air Force and had flown 15 missions when the war ended in Europe. He received an Honorable Discharge from the US Air Force on December 13, 1945 and was a recipient of the air Medal EAME Ribbon award.

In 1961 he was awarded a John Hay Fellowship for a year's study at Yale University and in 1968 a Fulbright Hay-Grant under which he taught at the Medway Technical School in Rochester, England.

Erv's drawings and paintings have been exhibited in many galleries including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, Anderson Art Center, Charles Allis Art Museum, Paine Museum, Lake Front exhibit, and Layton School of Art. His work is in permanent collections at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Clarke College, Museum of Wisconsin Art, Carroll College, and numerous private collections.

Erv considered himself a colorist and taught Alber's theory of color to his students and at education workshops and sessions in Wisconsin. This theory was deeply embedded in his own paintings and art work. Highly respected by fellow arts educators for his deep dedication to learning and the creative process, Erv practiced what he preached.

Erv is survived by his lovely wife, Dorothy, children Michael (Grafton), Julia (Timothy Sanborn, Chicago), Joan Werner (Port Washington), Claudia Cunningham (Robert, Polson,MT), 6 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A Memorial Service was held on March 31, 2007, at the First Congregational Church in Port Washington. The family suggests memorials to the Museum of Wisconsin Art, 360 S. 6th Ave., West Bend WI 53095 or to the First Congregational Church, 131 N. Webster St., Port Washington WI 53074.

As a fun and loving friend of many educators and artists, we bid farewell to a dear friend. You have touched our lives with a 'color' we will never forget.