By TOM LAVIS
The 2009 Artists’ Hall of Fame will honor two educators who have influenced scores of high school and college students.
This year’s accolades go to Rodney Eatman of Johnstown, a theatrical director, writer and retired professor of drama at Pitt-Johnstown, and Glenn Brougher of Westmont, a teacher, artist and mentor.
The men will be honored during a reception and a dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday at Holiday Inn, 250 Market St., downtown Johnstown.
The donation for the event is $50 per person or $95 a couple.
Rosemary Pawlowski, executive director of Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center in Johnstown, hopes the awards will give the community a chance to enjoy the talent in the area.
“When one hears Glenn Brougher, you might think of his Johnstown paintings, which are in many public and private places,” Pawlowski said.
“When you hear Rodney Eatman, you might recall being in the audience for one of his many productions.
“However, in all the conversations over the past months, what continues to resonate is the lifetime thrill each savors in the nurturing of students, the inspiring of confidence and enjoying the fruits of their harvest.”
Brougher casts a wide shadow. He is able to boast about hundreds of his paintings that hang in offices, institutions and homes.
However, his greatest impact has been that of an art teacher, where he guided, motivated, listened and influenced students for 31 years.
Brougher taught in the Forbes, Jenner-Boswell, Ferndale and Westmont Hilltop school districts.
He was also an instructor at Pitt-Johnstown in the evenings.
“I am thrilled and very honored that this happened to me,” Brougher said.
“I loved my job, I loved teaching and I loved the students, many of whom still keep in contact with me.”
In July, four former Ferndale Area High School students paid Brougher a visit when they returned home for a class reunion.
“All four became art teachers,” he said. “I also have former students who are teaching art in Westmont and Bishop McCort.”
He said he loved everything about teaching except for the pay.
“I was paid $2,000 a year in 1951 and would have to coast my car to work to save gas,” he laughed.
Eatman was greatly surprised when he was notified of his selection for the hall of fame.
“Johnstown has a vibrant arts community and I’m such a fan of Glenn Brougher,” Eatman said.
“I wasn’t sure I would be able to stand next to him, but I’m very honored to do so.”
A native of Texas, Eatman became the director of theater at Pitt-Johnstown in 1978. He has served as a teacher of acting on all levels, voice and articulation, directing, oral interpretation of literature and introduction to dramatic arts.
As a director, Eatman’s productions number more than 100 at Pitt-Johnstown, Cresson Lake Playhouse, Johnstown Symphony, Michigan Repertory and dating back to Texas.
He has staged a daunting number of classics, a dozen musicals on the main stage at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, as well as premiere performances of new scripts. He also presented five major plays by Tennessee Williams.
During the induction, two of Eatman’s proteges will perform Scene 5 from Williams’ “Glass Menagerie.”
Performing the 12-minute scene will be Kyra Kozielec-Gilmore, portraying Amanda, the mother, and Curtis C. Caldwell as Tom, the son.
“They are two of the best actors I have ever worked with,” Eatman said.
“The scene begins with a narrative, so it sets itself up for the audience.
“The two central characters are seen in full view and a kind of duality relationship develops, which paves the way for things that will happen later in the play.”
The Artists’ Hall of Fame honors distinguished performing, visual or literary artists who are natives or residents of the region and who have achieved excellence and recognition in his or her professional field.
Judging from the response from the people who know Brougher and Eatman, that criteria has been easily met.
During the festivities, Brougher will be introduced by one of his former students, graphic artist Jennifer Drummey of Johnstown.
“Glenn was a huge influence in so many people’s lives – certainly in mine, as a graphic designer,” she said.
“He gave you the sense that your artistic expression had merit, and then he helped you to bring it out. He was inspirational. Perhaps that’s why so many of his former students have gone on to participate in the arts in one form or another.”
Johnstown artist Mark Ed views Brougher as an artistic father figure.
“I had the unique fortune of being in Glenn’s class along with his only daughter, Mindy, which perhaps made me feel even more like a son,” Ed said.
“Glenn encouraged me to try out for the Governor’s School at Bucknell University, and Mindy and I were the ones chosen. That’s where we met Kevin Bacon who attended that year in the theatre department.”
Ed said Brougher was always supportive, but there were never any false compliments.
“He gave us freedom,” Ed said.
“He assigned amazingly creative and challenging projects, such as the marionette puppet self-portraits. Glenn taught me that it’s OK to be serious about art.”
Brougher has been associated with about 200 student teachers from Indiana University of Pennsylvania during his career.
A native of Jerome, Brougher graduated from IUP with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in art education.
He is a member of the Allied Artists of Johnstown, the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, the Community Arts Center, board member of Grandview Cemetery and is part of the Arts in Healing Committee.
Since Eatman arrived in Johnstown 31 years ago, he has been a champion of the arts.
He retired from his position at Pitt-Johnstown in 2008.
Both students and audiences have been the beneficiaries of his many talents, untiring work and lofty artistic standards.
Eatman will be introduced by Susan Brett of Westmont, a teacher at Bishop McCort High School.
She met Eatman when he was directing shows in conjunction with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra.
Brett participated in “Carousel” and “Taming of the Shrew.”
Throughout the years, their paths have crossed at various concerts and theatrical productions.
A few years ago, Eatman invited Brett to join the students at Pitt-Johnstown in “The Boyfriend.”
“He needed a ‘mature’ woman for one of the leads,” Brett said.
“I was thrilled to be working with Rodney again, and met some wonderful young adults in the students at UPJ. Rodney was a wonderful director. He has such vision and brought out the best in his actors. Every person felt important to the production. He always understood that the actors were volunteers and never wasted our time.”
Brett continued to participate at UPJ for “Brigadoon” and “Carnival.”
“Rodney has touched the lives of so many people; not only those he taught and directed, but the audience as well,” Brett said.
“Although Rodney has retired from academic life, I hope he will continue to share his gifts with the community.”
As a performer, Eatman has acted on various stages, including Mountain Playhouse, University of Michigan and Baylor University; as a dancer with the Pitt-Johnstown theatre department, the Johnstown Concert Ballet and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre; and as a television voice for many work-centered films.
As a writer, Eatman is responsible for classroom studies as well as one-act and full-length plays, some of which are under option for filming.
Eatman was honored and recognized by the YWCA of Greater Johnstown for the Arts and Letters Award in 1993, and with the Chancellors’ Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003.
The event will include silent and live auctions.
What: 2009 Artists’ Hall of Fame.
Where: Holiday Inn, 250 Market St., downtown Johnstown.
When: Reception at 6 p.m. Saturday, followed by dinner at 7.
Cost: $50 a person, $95 a couple.
By TOM LAVIS
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