New College of Liberal Arts Scholarship Salutes Respected MTSU Sculpture Professor


MTSU is honoring a gifted sculpture professor and providing a student with financial help to earn an art degree with a new Department of Art and Design scholarship.

James S. Gibson, who taught at MTSU from 1970 to 1999 and was named a professor emeritus in 2000, was a sculptor of national renown, creating more than 500 pieces during his lifetime.

His work is part of private and public collections both local and national, including the Frist Center for Visual Arts, Vanderbilt University, Nissan and Bridgestone, as well as in a place of honor in MTSU’s public collection. He worked in different media, including wood, steel, aluminum, bronze and brass, and also created 60 prints over his lifetime, once noting that teaching was a catalyst for his creativity.

“When my teaching goes well, my work goes well,” the professor said. “My work is a visual product influenced by memories, experiences, dreams, visions, and things not known.

“To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, in my work, ‘I try to render a sense of existence, not an assurance of some meaning.’”

Gibson died in August 2018 after a brief illness. He was 81.

The new “James S. Gibson Sculpture Scholarship,” established last December by the professor’s family, will be awarded to a junior or senior seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art with an emphasis on sculpture, said Meredith Kerr, development director for the College of Liberal Arts, home of the Department of Art and Design.

The scholarship recipient must have at least a 3.0 GPA when applying. Students from Tennessee and West Virginia will receive special consideration.

Gibson was a native of Charleston, West Virginia, and earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Charleston, formerly Morris Harvey College. The university also inducted him into its Alumni Gallery of Achievement in 2000.

For more information about the Gibson sculpture scholarship, contact Kerr at [email protected]. For information about the Department of Art and Design, visit

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