James Schwalbach

Year inducted: 2009
1912-1984

Born in 1912 in South Germantown, Wisconsin, James Schwalbach received both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in art education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His advanced graduate work in art education and educational supervision was completed at UW-Madison from 1937-41. In 1945 James joined the faculty of the Department of Rural Sociology in the College of Agriculture at UW-Madison, later becoming Director of Extension programs which encouraged rural people to develop an interest in artwork. He also evaluated radio programs for the Wisconsin School of the Air. James founded and directed the Wisconsin Rural Art Program in 1945 and was its director until 1964. He worked closely with John Steuart Curry, and later, Aaron Bohrod, to establish the Wisconsin Regional Artists Association, which continues to exist today. James Schwalbach was the creator and narrator of the "Let's Draw" radio series of the Wisconsin School of the Air from 1936-1973. Between 1936-1946, he received several awards for the best educational program in national radio in both public and private sectors; in addition to narrating these programs, he wrote teachers’ manuals for them. Besides his radio work, James produced many block prints, however, by the 1950s, he switched from block printing to painting and serigraphy. In 1970 James and his wife, Mathilda, published, Screen Process Printing for the Textile Designer and Serigrapher. He died in Three Lakes, Wisconsin in 1984.

Works by James Schwalbach