Jim Meade’s passion for teaching remains as vibrant as his first day on the job 49 years ago as a member of The University of Southern Mississippi’s faculty.
“I love teaching, and have enjoyed every minute of it,” said Meade of his nearly half-century career at USM as a professor of art and design.
Whether in his youth as a swimming instructor or a Boy Scout showing others the proper technique for tying knots, and now teaching art to college students, Meade says he’s “never been stingy with my energy and knowledge.”
“I see myself as an artist-teacher – I don’t know any other way.”
A native of Virginia, Meade attended the University of Virginia-Wise and then obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art from East Tennessee State University, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia. He also studied under the renowned American artist Hiram Williams.
Meade’s work has been featured in a total of 137 shows, 40 of them solo and 17 of them overseas. He has lectured or exhibited his work in China, South Korea, Italy, Holland, and Japan.
At USM, he teaches freshman drawing, freshman design, advanced drawing, advanced painting, and figure drawing.
Art, he said in reflecting on the field, “is really a kind of language, through sense of sight” and “a complicated combination of intellect, intuition and sensitivity to all that is visual.”
Meade’s teaching strategy includes helping his students recapture the creative energy unique to their first interactions with art as children.
“What I’m trying to do is bring back what they had in first grade,” he said.
Mary Rebecca Schloe-gel, a senior art major from Gulfport and student in one of Meade’s painting classes this semester, described him as “a dedicated teacher who encourages and pushes his students to find personal meaning in our art, supporting and pushing us to find the artist that we are,” she said.
“He doesn’t just give you all the answers,” Schloegel said. “You have to take the responsibility to run with what you learn, and succeed. It’s up to you to do it.”
The USM School of Performing and Visual Arts is housed in the College of Arts Sciences.