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“…art doesn’t happen instantly–you have to work at it. One thing, I find it’s easy to work at something you believe in.”
- John Sears, May 5, 1977
John Sears moved to Bucks County from the Chicago suburbs in 1970 to accept a position as an art educator at the George School in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He also held teaching appointments in printmaking at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts in 1976 and 1977. Sears graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a diploma in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking in 1960 and a bachelor's degree in Art Education in 1965. He then attended Northern Illinois University, where he obtained a Master of Arts in 1970. Primarily a painter and printmaker, Sears’ subject matter includes the human figure, sailing, the sky and still-life compositions. Other media and artistic processes he used included color pencil drawings, lithographs, serigraphs, and mixed media works on paper.
The artist had many personal and professional accomplishments during his lifetime. Following a near-fatal bicycling accident in 1985, Sears overcame paralysis, speech and cognitive challenges in order to return to art-making. “After my accident,” Sears said, “I was devastated… I couldn’t imagine living without being able to create. Using as much will and determination as I could muster, I kept on trying, so that I could once again work in my studio.”
Sears’ work has received much acclaim and has been exhibited in a variety of venues and cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. One of the founding members of the Art Alliance of Bucks County and the Bucks County Art Educators Association, JSears remained involved in the region’s rich artistic community until his death in 2009.
John Sears. Image courtesy of Anne Sears.
Education & Training
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Diploma in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking, 1960
M.A., Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, 1970
John Sears was a colleague of Vincent Ceglia, Pamela Miller, Michael A. Smith and Katherine Renninger, among others. He was influenced by the works of Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso and Edward Hopper.
Connection to Bucks County
John Sears moved to Bucks County from Chicago 1970 to accept a teaching position at the George School in Newtown, where he later became the department head, a position he for held for seventeen years. Steeped in the Bucks County arts community, he was a founding member of the Bucks County Art Educators Association and the Art Alliance of Bucks County. Sears' diverse memberships included the Philadelphia Sketch Club, Nuvisions for Disabled Artists, Artsbridge, Artists of Yardley, Trenton Artists Workshop Associations and the American Society of Marine Artists.
John Sears 1981. Image courtesy of Anne Sears.
Major Solo Exhibitions
Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ, 2013
Saint Mary Medical Center, Newtown, PA, 1999
Cafe Galleria, New Hope, PA, 1997
Playmasters Gallery, Bensalem, PA, 1992
Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, PA, 1991
Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA, 1985
West Chester University, West Chester, PA, 1984
Trenton Public Library, Trenton, NJ, 1983
Saint Lawrence Rehabilitation Hospital, Lawrenceville, NJ, 1983
George School, Newtown, PA, 1981, 1987, 1995
Jane Law Gallery, Surf City, NJ, 1979
Lower Makefield Performing Arts Society, Newtown, PA, 1975
Earlham College, Richmond, IN, 1975
Major Group Exhibitions
Cultural Arts in Progress, Yardley, PA, 2006
Artsbridge, Lambertville, NJ, 2005
Art First, University Medical Center at Princeton, Princeton, NJ, 2005-2009
Delaware River Gallery, Yardley, PA, 2004
Art Ability, Bryn Mawr Rehab, Malvern, PA, 2003, 2004, 2005
Exhibition by Artists with Physical Disabilities, Moss Rehab, juried and invitational, Philadelphia, PA, 2003-2009
Nuvisions for Disabled Artists, Philadelphia, PA, 1998
Bargeton Gallery, Washington Crossing, PA, 1997
Washington Crossing Foundation, juried, Washington Crossing, PA, 1991
Cecil County Arts Council, Chesapeake City, MD, 1990
Works on Paper, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA, 1982
Fred Clark Museum, Carversville, PA, 1975
Phillips' Mill Annual Art Exhibition, New Hope, PA, 1974
Bryn Mawr Rehab
Moss Rehabilitation Hospital
University Medical Center at Princeton
Pittsburgh Plate Glass
Pittsburgh Copper Corporation
Pittsburgh National Bank
Teacher: Drawing and Painting, George School, Newtown, PA, 1970-1985
Instructor: Printmaking, Pennsylvania Governors School for the Arts, Bucknell University, PA, 1976, 1977
First Prize for Works on Canvas, Art Ability, Bryn Mawr Rehab, 2003
Honorable Mention for Works on Canvas, Art First, University City Medical Center at Princeton, 2003, 2007
Second Prize for Works on Paper, International Exhibition by Artists with Physical Disabilities, Philadelphia, 1989
Excellence in Art Education, Honors Seminar for the Advancement of Art Education, Rhode Island School of Design, 1983
First Prize for Graphics, Yardley Art Association, 1975, 1977
Patrons Award for Graphics, Phillips' Mill Annual Art Exhibition, 1974