Jules Heller, Francisco Madero, 1947, linocut. Image courtesy of the Jules Heller family.
In 1963, Penn State President Eric Walker enlisted Jules Heller, then the director of the University’s School of Fine and Applied Arts, to serve as the founding dean of the College of Arts and Architecture. One of Dr. Heller’s crowning achievements during his tenure as head of the college was the role he played in 1967 as general chairman of the planning committee for the first Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. “This year we only scratched the surface,” he announced at the close of the festivities, “in years to come, when people want to know what is going on in all the arts, they will come to Central Pennsylvania to find out.” Prescient words for an event that now attracts well over 125,000 visitors per year.
Prior to coming to Penn State, Dr. Heller taught for fifteen years at the University of Southern California, where he developed an international reputation for printmaking. His text, Printmaking Today, issued in 1958, was the first studio-oriented book on the graphic arts ever published, and the Jules Heller Print Study Room in the Art Museum at Arizona State University, where he served as dean of the College of Fine Arts from 1976 through 1985, is named in his honor. This retrospective exhibition, organized to mark the Arts Festival’s fiftieth year, celebrates six decades of Dr. Heller’s printmaking efforts.