“I’m trying to encourage students who are willing to take the chance and do something difficult to come back to this art form.”
Tylden Streett ’54, ’57
MICA faculty member Tylden Streett ’54, ’57 wanted to help students who were interested in studying the artistic application of the figure—an ancient tradition going back to when people first started making art. He feels that the figure has been somewhat neglected and has moved to help students master this tested art-making form. To support the education of students choosing to pursue this path, Streett created a scholarship specifically for students interested in the human figure.
“I’ve taught at MICA for more than half my life, 53 years,” Streett said. “I haven’t given gifts other than the gift of my teaching. And now that I’ve accumulated enough money to live comfortably, I’m giving some of that money to encourage students to study the human figure. And that’s all that the scholarship is about.”
The MICA alum is an artistic institution all by himself. Streett served as the director of MICA’s Rinehart School of Sculpture from 1959-60. In 2010, he was awarded the Medal of Honor—the College’s highest honor—for his dedication to teaching and excellence in the field. He is one of Maryland’s most prolific sculptors, earning him the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. His work includes a gargoyle on the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. He has exhibited widely, from the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, and the Baltimore Museum of Art to the National Sculpture Society, Equitable Gallery, and the Salmagundi Club in New York City.
Though he doesn’t dismiss the value of abstract art, Streett views figurative sculpture as one of the most challenging forms of art-making. He is encouraging students to accept the challenge. “I went through a period of teaching and making abstract sculpture myself, so I’m not an enemy of abstract art,” said Streett. “But the figure is very difficult, and it isn’t encouraged a lot today. I’m trying to encourage students who are willing to take the chance and do something difficult to come back to this art form.”
Streett’s reason for giving was simply an exploration of possibilities. There are no guarantees that scores of students will fall in love with figurative sculpture. But for streett, it’s an opportunity for him to provide opportunities for others. “It’s quite simple, really,” he said. “I’m taking my own money, and I’m putting it in the hands of MICA with the hope that they will distribute it with thought.”