The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Memories of Professor Pamela Ann Johnson

Willa Wang
Maine, although cold, has a special beauty in the winter, too.

Associate Professor of Art and Visual Culture Pamela Ann Johnson died at age 65 on Jan. 8. News of Professor Johnson’s passing was shared with the Bates community via an email sent on Jan. 15 from President Jenkins.

According to the email, Professor Johnson was a faculty member since 1999, teaching painting, drawing and printmaking courses. In addition to collaborating with many different departments and programs at Bates, Johnson advised many senior studio art majors through preparations for their Senior Thesis Exhibitions. Johnson was also a past member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Planning Committee.

Prior to coming to Bates, Johnson received a B.F.A. from the University of Kansas, a B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute, and an M.F.A. from Bennington College. In 1986, she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Notably, Johnson served as an assistant curator of prints and drawings for Former Director of the Smithsonian Art Museum Elizabeth Broun at the Spencer Museum of Art of the University of Kansas.

Johnson earned many grants and awards for her work as a painter and printmaker, including Bates College’s 2004 Roger C. Schmutz Faculty Research Grant. She exhibited her work in New England and the Midwest.

The email also indicated that, “In addition to Bates, Pamela taught at Bennington, Montserrat College of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a Boston shelter for homeless women and children and workshops in Mexico and France.”

The Student reached out to Professor Johnson’s colleagues and former students to share their memories, stories and reflections of Johnson.

“I will always remember Pamela’s amazing laugh. So many forms it could take, sometimes all at once: delicate, tinkly, deep, rich, mirthful, mellifluous. So much it could convey—from the appreciation of something funny to sheer delight to a wry punctuation of solidarity in the face of the bullshit that we sometimes face/d here. But whatever the source of her laughter, it was a pleasure to be in the presence of. Even in tears over Pamela’s passing, her laugh make me smile, grateful for having shared time and space together.”

– Erica Rand, Friend and Colleague in Art and Visual Culture

“Ms. Johnson has guided me the beauty of the city Charlotte. I loved meeting her and her daughter out of Maine and had discussions about the importance of having a community at Bates. She was one of the first bates alumni I have connected with.”

– Emily Gonzalez, Student

“Professor Johnson was my FYS professor, and I always appreciated how much she believed in me and my art. One memory I have is during my sophomore year we went on a walk, and she brought me to her porch to play with her cats and talk about my future goals in art she will be very missed.”

– Abby Segal, Student

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About the Contributor
Trinity Poon, Managing News Editor
Trinity is a sophomore from Sandwich, MA with a double major in English and French. She has been writing for The Student since the Fall of her first-year. She is a member of the Women's Ultimate Frisbee team, Cold Front, and plays the trumpet at Bates. When she is not writing and tossing disks, Trinity enjoys reading, running and spending time outdoors. 

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