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Artistic legacy of accomplished UW-Madison alum Butler captured by The Capital Times

January 25, 2019

The Capital Times recently ​published an article headlined, “Artist Jerry Butler is making his mark,” that gives a fascinating look at his career as an artist and educator. 

Butler, an alumnus of UW-Madison, tells the Cap Times that he has always had big ambitions.

The newspaper report recalls Butler’s childhood, remembering the days he spent on the farm with his grandmother, 'aspiring to be the first black artist in the world.'

Jerry Butler
Butler received his master of fine arts degree from the School of Education’s Art Department in 1972 and a Ph.D. from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in 1995. He has gone on to enjoy ​an ​impressive and multifaceted career.

Butler speaks to his blossoming artistic eye, recalling his affinity for photography, and remembering projects like “creating a mural on Baptist baptismal font.” He reports to The Capital Times that he sought artistic study early, as well, saving money from his paper route to join an artist’s correspondence course. 

After receiving his undergraduate degree, Butler went on to teach all around Mississippi, and later taught in Wisconsin. Butler tells The Capital Times, that, unlike many art teachers, he remained a practicing artist during his teaching years. He remembers this combination of teaching and art as a very fulfilling time, saying “I wasn’t teaching art to produce a whole bunch of artists, I was teaching art to produce successful people.” 

Now 71 years old, The Capital Times reports that Butler “has entered one of the most prolific seasons” of his artistic career. From illustrating books and magazines to personal, narrative collages, Butler has accumulated an impressive portfolio. According to The Capital Times, Butler is especially well-versed in notions of color, pattern, and texture. 

Butler’s most recent exhibition, “Angels and Demons,” was on view at the Central Library. A second show will be exhibited in the Overture Center’s Gallery I, opening on March 12. 

Read more about Jerry Butler and his career on this Capital Times web page