ROCK SPRINGS — Western Wyoming Community College awarded emeritus status to Florence Alfano McEwin, professor of art and curator of Western’s Art Gallery, for her 41 years of dedicated service to the College.
McEwin works in print and paint mediums. She has always found time and joy for watercolors in the vivid landscapes of her surroundings in Wyoming — one of which received the C.N.G Producing Company award of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, listing her name with historical notables such as Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, and Thomas Eakins.
In addition to shows in the United States, her work has been displayed all over the world, in Japan, Canada, Italy, Germany, England, Scotland, the Netherlands and France. In April 2020, she will continue her career with a show in Tokyo, Japan, at Gallery Kaze.
McEwin grew up on the Atlantic Ocean north of Boston and came to Rock Springs during the 1970’s oil boom period, which she describes as “a wild place, which was exciting. People welcomed me with open arms.”
She taught in both Rock Springs and Green River, although she hadn’t wanted to teach originally. The head of the Art Department in Laramie wrote his friends who were deans at Western about McEwin, and they convinced her to teach at Western.
She wrote the curriculum for the art degree at Western upon her arrival, as the one in place at the time was limited. She started the workshop program at Western since she was the only teacher, to ensure her students had the opportunity to learn from other experts in their fields. In further efforts to build the art program at Western, McEwin stayed in close contact with the high school art teachers in Green River and across the state.
McEwin explains how she managed to invite international artists to Western’s gallery, “For example, I was invited to a show at the Palazzo Ducale in Lucca, Italy, where the works were on paper, during the Cartasia Biennale event. The room in which my work was shown was a smaller room built inside a larger main room. In the main body of the room was Eszter Bornemisza, whose work was displayed in the Art Gallery about two years ago. I was able to get a lot of artists to come to Western because I’d meet them at shows I was invited to.”
When asked about what she’s most proud of in her time at Western, McEwin said, “I’m probably most proud of my students. Before the Hathaway Scholarship, my students used to transfer all over, to other places in the United States, and internationally, including Harvard and Oxford, England. Many students have gone on successfully to graduate programs. I’m really proud that they were enabled through my program to be admitted anywhere in the world.
“Additionally, I’m very proud of the Art Gallery Intern Program, which I established to offer exceptional students, both traditional and non-traditional, as an area of achievement and working knowledge of art outside the classroom. I’m also proud to have acquired the donation from the Warhol Foundation of eight serigraphs and 150 original photographs as a permanent acquisition.”
Western honored Professor McEwin with emeritus status at the commencement ceremony which took place May 17.