Dr. Eugene Grigsby


Dr. Eugene Grigsby was the Honorary Chairperson for the 2009
Phoenix Union High School All Alumni Dinner Dance.
“Up, Up and Away!

Jefferson Eugene Grigsby Jr., now retired and still living in his Phoenix home / studio that he purchased in 1956, served as an art department teacher at Phoenix Union High School from 1955 to 1966. 

As a PUHS art teacher, he had his students maintain daily records by having them do “daily compositions.” These were from homework quick studies:  sketches of a scene observed, remembered, and drawn the next day for 10 minutes in pencil, ink, or watercolor. Often in the style of the artist researched  The paper size was 5 – 1/2 inches by 8 – 1’2 inches.  These were then kept in a booklet form in the classroom throughout the class semester.

In addition, Dr. Grigsby’s art students kept a daily “folder.” The folder had entries from  “use of time,”  “hours present”, ”initative,” “attitude,” “integrity,” and “plan for the week” Also included in the list was “Hours Present,” and “Manner & Appearance.” 

Students were to enter a number scoring themselves from “poor, all the way to excellent.” A # 5 was poor and a # 1 was excellent. At the end of each class, students filled out their scores as they believed they merited. For the folders, sometimes, Dr. Grigsby would change the student’s score after talking with the student. At times his score was higher than the student’s  These folders were kept in the classroom along with the “Daily Compositions.” 

All in all, this daily recording of both experience and classroom scores allowed each student to continually see his or her progress as a classroom student, as well as an art student.

Jefferson Eugene Grigsby Jr., was born in Greensboro, N.C., on 17 October 1918. He attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., then Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., graduating with a degree in art in 1938. During this time, he studied under the painter, Hale Woodruff.

From 1938 to 1939, he studied at the American Artists School in New York, where he met prominent African American artists including Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden.

Grigsby received a master’s degree from Ohio State University in 1940.  In 1963, he received his doctorate in art education from New York University. Grigsby served as head of the art department at Phoenix Union High School from 1965 to 1966. From 1966 to 1988, he was professor of art at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Dr. Grigsby was Vice President, National Art Education Association (NAEA); 1988  Dr. Grigsby was honored by the NAEA as Art Educator of the Year in 2008, the year he retired.

In 1966, the Philadelphia College of Arts, now the University of the Arts, conferred on Dr. Grigsby the degree, Doctor of Fine Arts (honorary). In 1958, he was one of six artists selected to represent the United States at the Brussels Universal and International Exposition. In 1965 he was one of 25 art educator, artists & art historians to receive one of 25 awards recognizing the 25th anniversary of the National Art Gallery, presented by Lady Bird Johnson in the West Wing of the White House. 

In 1943, Grigsby married Rosalyn Thomasena Marshall, with whom he had two sons.Dr. Grigsby’s current involvement with art includes his ongoing support of the Consortium of Black Organizations and Others for the Arts which he founded in 1983.

Dr. Grigsby has been invited and has accepted being the Honorary Chairperson for this year’s PUHS All Alumni Dinner and Dance. There will be a sampling of the PUHS art student’s “Daily Composition Booklets” and “Daily Class Folders” on display along with a few selections of his art work and awards over the years as both an artist, and as an educator.

Dr. Grigsby’s Website is: www.EugeneGrigsbyArt.com

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