Kerr, Donald A. (1930-2017)







Donald Kerr was born February 21,1930, in Saginaw, Michigan. He served as an Army Intelligence Officer in Germany during the Korean War. In 1952, he married fellow artist, Enid Albertson and together they raised their four children in Reno, Nevada and Grand Haven, Michigan. He later met and married his spouse of 40 years, the painter Sharon Sandberg.

An extraordinary man, Don lived a rich and adventurous life. He is remembered for his kind and gentle nature, generosity toward students and his creative and curious mind. He and Sharon would often take his art students abroad for further study. He was a life long learner and voracious reader who could be counted on for conversation on a wide range of topics, but particularly art, history and travel. Among his many talents, Don was an accomplished painter and a dedicated educator. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa, following his undergraduate years spent at Michigan State University. After teaching at Ohio State and the University of Nevada for several years, Don accepted a position at Grand Valley State University as Chairman of the Art Department, where he taught for almost 30 years. Donald Kerr began his employment at Grand Valley State University in September of 1970 as a professor of art. Mr. Kerr also served as the chair for his department and director of Summer School for England and France. He retired in the spring of 1999 and was named Professor Emeritus of Art and Design. In post-retirement, he continued to teach drawing classes at Aquinas College. A scholar in the subject of Perception, Don exhibited, lectured, read papers and taught, both nationally and internationally in London, Europe and Japan.

One of Don’s associates at the University of Nevada was the renowned political scientist, Dr. Elmer R. Rusco (1928-2004). Professor Rusco had graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Phd in 1960. Rusco was at the University during the early development of the Bay Area Figurative Art Movement and he and Don shared an interest in the Bay Area Figurative artists. The influence of these artists, most notably, David Park, is evident in much of Kerr’s work.

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