TAMIU Opens Helen Richter Watson Gallery June 6
Posted: 5/26/11

TAMIU Opening Helen Richter
Watson Art Gallery June 6

Helen Richter Watson
Helen Richter Watson

A home celebrating the art and life of the famed late Laredo artist Helen Richter Watson opens to the public Monday, June 6 in Texas A&M International University’s Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.

The Helen Richter Watson Art Gallery is a light-filled aerie that embraces the spectrum of Watson’s (1926-2003) influence as both artist and teacher. It replicates her welcoming Houston Street studio, which mixed works of art within her home setting to create a gathering space that celebrated a life of art. Visitors will also find collected works by artists who were Watson’s artist colleagues or friends.

Construction of the Gallery was made possible by a gift of legacy and love from the Dolly Richter Watson Foundation.

Affectionately known to family and friends as “Whitie,” Watson was the daughter of Helen Richter and Horace Watson. The Richter family was prolific in Laredo’s business and artistic heritage. Horace Watson, her father, was from New York and a Calvary officer stationed at Fort Macintosh when he and Helen Richter met.

Young Helen was fond of harvesting mud from the banks of the Rio Grande, footsteps from her home, to create clay pots of transitory beauty. This link with nature would only be strengthened with her art education and teaching career.

She earned her BA at California's Scripps College and her MFA at Claremont Graduate School. In addition to serving on the faculty at Chaffey College and Mount San Antonio College, she was Chair of the Ceramics Department at the famed Otis Art Institute from 1958-1979.

Watson became one of the nation’s most highly regarded ceramics artists and educators. She firmly believed that with determination, all students wishing to pursue a career in the arts could accomplish their dreams and make a contribution to the art world.

Until her death in 2003, she maintained her studio home in Laredo, often welcoming young students and artists with special parties and eagerly anticipated dinners.

Project architects were Frank Architects, Inc. of Laredo and Pfluger Associates of San Antonio. Construction was by Alpha Construction of San Antonio. Gallery consultant was Ethel Shipton.

The Gallery is part of the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library and observes the Library’s hours of operation and all scheduled University holidays or closures. To coordinate visits by large groups, please contact 956.326.4483. More information is available at the Gallery’s website, located at tamiu.edu/WatsonGallery.

For additional information, contact the Office for Institutional Advancement at 956.326.GIVE (4483), email vice president Candy Hein at candy.hein@tamiu.edu, or visit offices in the Killam Library, room 261.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu