Teach Them to Dream: The Art & Influence of Stan Sporny
September 10 - December 30, 2022
Teach Them to Dream: The Art & Influence of Stan Sporny will be on view at the Huntington Museum of Art from Sept. 10 through Dec. 30, 2022. A free opening reception for this exhibit takes place on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at HMA.
Stan Sporny (American, 1946-2008) was an accomplished professional artist and an inspiring Marshall University professor, passionately dedicated to helping his students achieve success. He aimed to revolutionize oil painting with his brand of non-toxic solvents and mediums: “The Sporny Solution.”
“Stan Sporny was always exploring and discovering, teaching and challenging,” said John Farley, HMA Senior Curator / Exhibition Designer and one of Sporny’s former students. “Classroom discussions ranged from color saturation to Sri Lankan politics, formalism to Foghorn Leghorn. While his students quietly painted, he played the blues on his guitar and shared stories of New Orleans. At the end of the semester, he was known to bring a pot of homemade jambalaya to class.”
Born in Philadelphia, Sporny could remember wanting to be an artist by age eleven. He attended the Philadelphia College of Art from 1964 to 1968 and the University of Pennsylvania from 1969 to 1972, where he studied under noted artists such as Neil Welliver, Red Grooms, Alex Katz, Alice Neel, and Elaine de Kooning. During the summer of 1972, he was sponsored by Katz to attend the prestigious Skowhegan School in Maine. That same year he received an Albright Scholarship to study in Sri Lanka, where he resided for nine years. Sporny taught at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge from 1987 to 1988 before becoming a beloved educator at Marshall University for the rest of his life. He received a Federal Art-in-Architecture Grant in 1993 to create 12 paintings that were installed in the Veterans Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.
Sporny exhibited widely throughout his career, including solo shows in Sri Lanka; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Atlanta, Georgia. His latest paintings were featured in Charleston, West Virginia, when he passed away unexpectedly in 2008. His work can be found in public collections such as the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Utah Museum of Fine Art, Salt Lake City, UT; the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA; and the Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, West Virginia.
The Huntington Museum of Art is honored to partner with family, friends, and private collectors to present Teach Them to Dream: The Art & Influence of Stan Sporny.
This exhibit is presented with support from BesTitle Agency, Inc.; The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment; and Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma.
This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.
Stan Sporny, Huntington Museum of Art, 2003. Oil on linen. Dimensions: 19 ¾” h X 39 ¾” w. Painting on loan from Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma. Photograph by Rick Lee.