William Tourtillotte

Art + Education = Bill Tourtillotte

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One of our newest members of the Friends of the Snite Board is William “Bill” Tourtillotte. Bill has been involved in the local art community for over thirty years. Together with his wife Julie, Chair of the Art Department at Saint Mary’s College, and their son Henry, the family maintains an eighteen-acre organic farm and an art studio near Potato Creek State Park.

Bill grew up in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. While still in high school, he started college at the Cleveland Institute of Art. As a condition of receiving his high school diploma, he was required to pass his freshman year of college, an experience he described both as a great opportunity as well as a challenging one. With his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree completed, Bill went directly to graduate school at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He met Julie at Cranbrook, and after they received their MFA degrees, they relocated to this area to work at Saint Mary’s College. Bill has taught at several institutions, including Saint Mary’s College, Holy Cross College, Purdue University, and the University of Notre Dame. Since 2015, he has been a Lecturer in the Fine Arts Department of the Raclin School for the Arts at Indiana University South Bend. His primary areas of interest and practice are printmaking and letterpress.

Education and art are strong passions for Bill, ones he has pursued not only in a traditional classroom setting but beyond the campus. He describes art as his “operating system” since it informs and influences almost everything in his life. Bill has used art education as a healing and calming force for various audiences who have benefitted from a shift in focus away from negativity toward a safe and positive place. One such experience was teaching drawing at the Westville State Penitentiary; those art classes enabled his students to experience a different sense of freedom and expression, a change he could see in his students’ drawings. And murals painted by his students at the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center offered another example of how art can change people’s perception and engagement with the world.

Bill’s connection to the Snite Museum of Art goes back many years. As an art educator, he has always included the Museum as part of his students’ experience and coursework. Working with Sarah Martin and her predecessor Jackie Welch, Bill has also been a partner in the Snite Museum’s High School Apprentice Program, one of the initiatives funded by the Friends. Not surprisingly, Bill enjoys seeing new and evolving talent showcased at the Museum’s MFA exhibitions; other favorite works are housed in the Ashbaugh Decorative Arts Gallery.

Cindy Dunn, a previous Friends Board member and a former student of Bill’s, recruited him to join the Board. In his short tenure so far, Bill has been a part of the membership/marketing and the nominations committees. The South Bend area and the Friends are fortunate to have Bill as part of our community. His passion for art and education truly fit the mission of the Snite Museum of Art.

Michael Riemke, Friends of the Snite Board of Directors

September 2021