Keith Allen Hatcher, professor emeritus of art, died peacefully on July 2, 2017, at his home in New Milford, Connecticut, with his wife of fifty-seven years by his side. He was the beloved husband of Mary Flo (Hecko) Hatcher and loving father of Lisa Hatcher of Pittsburgh. He is survived by his brother Richard Lee Hatcher of Terre Haute, Indiana, and a large extended family.
Keith’s extensive teaching career began in 1956 and continued until his retirement from Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, in 2016. He began teaching at a Settlement House in Indianapolis, Indiana, while a student at the John Herron School of Art (now affiliated with Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana), where he received his BFA in painting in 1961 and studied lithography with Garo Z. Antreasian.
He completed his MFA degree at Tulane University, in New Orleans, in 1963 and taught at Benedict College and Columbia College in South Carolina, at the University of Florida in Gainesville, at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and for 46 years at Southern Connecticut State University. He served as art department chairperson from 1992 to 1998 with the assistance of the inimitable Barbara Robinson.
During his term as chairperson he received two grants from the Mid-America Arts Alliance of the U.S. Information Agency to bring two artists to the university to live and work for six weeks each—Jaime Higa Oshiro from Lima, Peru, and four years later Jeffery Kakaro Navaea from Papua New Guinea.
Keith and Flo spent nearly 50 years affiliated with the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina, teaching printmaking and basketry. They joined the faculty in 1965 when Bill and Jane Brown were hired as directors following the retirement of Miss Lucy Morgan, the founder of the school, who was still on campus. For many years they coordinated the printmaking program, and continued to teach under every director since then. The family maintains a second home near the school.
Keith Hatcher was a printmaker, watercolor painter, and basket-maker. He was a gifted and demanding teacher who instilled in his students a love of traditional printmaking and an appreciation of fine art. He taught lithography, silkscreen, intaglio, and basket-making. Upon the retirement of Anna Held Audette he had sole responsibility for the entire printmaking program at S.C.S.U. He leaves behind numerous students who followed his example of attending graduate school and establishing professional careers of their own. Over the years he had exceptional lab technicians who assisted in the maintenance of the large professional printmaking studio. Their dedication to him and to his program was extraordinary and meaningful.
Keith was instrumental in the creation of the Hot Glass program at Southern. In 1975 he and his faculty colleague sculptor Peter Pellettieri built over a weekend the rudimentary structures that would form the hot shop with the help of Mark Peiser, from the Penland School of Crafts. The unique program continued until 1992 and produced a number of prominent glass artists.
Keith amassed an impressive list of professional accomplishments. His art work is represented in over seventy public and private collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Yale Art Gallery. His work is included in numerous university collections and has been shown in national and international juried exhibitions, and over the years he conducted printmaking, basket making and paper making workshops across the country. He had a number of solo, two-artist, and group exhibitions during his distinguished career. In 1980 he was one of only a few artists to receive a large Connecticut Commission on the Arts Fellowship that enabled him to pursue his printmaking research for an entire semester.
He was predeceased by his mother, Helen Bernice (Faller) Hatcher, his father, Paul E. Hatcher, and his stepmother, Florence Hatcher. He was born in 1934 in Greencastle, Indiana, and graduated from Greencastle High School in 1952. Upon graduation he attended business school but left to pursue studies in art. He took art classes at DePauw University in Greencastle prior to attending John Herron. During this time he also went to Officer Training School and was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant in the Indiana National Guard.
Keith died on a Sunday and spent his last Saturday with his good friend Mr. Bennie Little fishing and watching a baseball game. Keith was a skilled catch-and-release fisherman, and the day was perfect. A celebration of his life will be held at the convenience of his family.