Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2010 (July 21, 2010 at 12:00 am)

Arnold Popinsky


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July 21, 2010 at 12:00 am

Arnold PopinskyArnold “Arnie” Popinsky, an artist and Beloit College art professor from 1957 to 1976, died May 6 in Austin, Texas, after a battle with leukemia. He was 79.

When he arrived at Beloit in the late 1950s, Popinsky quickly became a well-liked young professor. His former students include New York-based jewelry designer and entrepreneur Robert Lee Morris’69.

Popinsky started out as a sculptor and printmaker, and later studied, practiced, and taught pottery making.

He left Beloit after his wife received a job offer in Austin. In his new home, Popinksy became a leader in the arts community and advocate for artists and the arts. In 1977, he opened Clarksville Pottery, named for the historic Austin neighborhood where it was located. The enterprise sold jewelry, ceramics, and handcrafted items, and operated a production studio that employed Texas artists, whose works were sold in the gallery and in other venues. Clarksville Pottery achieved acclaim both in Austin and on a national level. In the 1990s, a poll of 2,500 craft artists voted it among the top 100 retailers of American crafts. The retail outlets eventually expanded to operate in three locations.

“Arnie was and will remain an original—an artist, a teacher, a mentor, and a friend to many—a man who lived fully, boldly, and with adventure at every turn,” his daughter, Diana Hyland, says.

Popinsky was born in the Bronx borough of New York City in 1930. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sydelle, a son, a daughter, two grandchildren, and a sister.

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