Secret lives of our profs

Andy Olson

Ben Rinehart, Assistant Professor of Art, came to Lawrence three years ago to fill a vacant tenure-track position in two-dimensional art. He teaches courses in painting, drawing, printmaking, and recently began incorporating papermaking into the art curriculum at Lawrence. In his own work, Professor Rinehart also works in book arts, creating book constructions and interactive book art objects.
Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind. — a place he describes as “cozy, but a little too conservative,” — Rinehart attended the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis for his undergraduate education. At this point, he was already pursuing his developing passion for teaching by acting as an instructor at a Saturday art school.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Rinehart moved to Louisiana State University to pursue graduate work. There, he helped to found a book arts program while continuing his passion for teaching as a graduate teaching assistant.
After finishing his master’s degree, Rinehart moved to New York City. “I had no job and no plans,” he noted. After spending some time in the New York art scene, Rinehart had had enough. “I was teaching at four universities each semester, at least.” He responded to a Chronicle of Higher Education ad advertising Lawrence’s vacancy.
“Appleton seemed like a good place to raise a family,” Rinehart said. He was invited to visit Lawrence after applying. “The caliber of the art students I saw at Lawrence seemed on the level of my students at Rutgers and other well-established programs.”
In his free time, Professor Rinehart enjoys spending time with his family. He and his partner have a son, Harper, who is 21 months old. “He keeps us on our toes,” said Rinehart, laughing. Rinehart also enjoys reading his favorite authors, James Baldwin, and “Wicked” author Greg Maguire and will definitely be attending the “Wicked” stage production in Appleton later this year. Rinehart is also an avid viewer of horror and drama films. As for television, just about the only show he watches is Heroes.
Professor Rinehart has a solo art show opening in the Wriston galleries Jan. 23. This show will feature a number of paintings, drawings, prints, book objects and puzzle constructions. The exhibit is free and open to the public.