A Tribute to Leslie Beddard

Growing up, I always had a passion for art. But it wasn’t until I took ceramics classes with my teacher, Leslie Beddard, that I discovered my love for working with clay. Mr. Beddard was not only an excellent teacher, but he was also deeply invested in his students. He exposed us to the works of famous ceramic artists like Peter Voulkos, Charles Brown, and Robert Arneson, and even took us to visit his friend’s ceramic art collection in Riverside.

As I continued to learn and grow under Mr. Beddard’s guidance, I began to explore ceramics on my own. I took night classes at the local junior high and eventually learned how to throw pots on the wheel. In fact, I became so passionate about ceramics that I started teaching others, even throwing pots in shopping malls. I loved the feeling of making art surrounded by people and the sense of excitement it brought.

When I entered high school, I took as many art classes as possible, but ceramics remained my true love. I will never forget the thrill of working with clay and seeing my creations come to life. Mr. Beddard continued to be a huge influence on my life, even after he passed away from AIDS in 1992. I was devastated that I never got to say goodbye, but I know that a part of him still lives on in me.

Thanks to Mr. Beddard’s guidance and encouragement, I eventually found myself at the Kansas City Art Institute, pursuing my passion for ceramics at a higher level. I’ll always be grateful to him for introducing me to the wonderful world of ceramics and for inspiring me to pursue my dreams. Mr. Beddard was not only a great teacher but a wonderful person who knew how to have fun with things. I’ll never forget his love for Pee Wee Herman, which was big at the time. He could imitate him perfectly! I owe so much of my success to him and will always cherish the memories of my time learning and growing under his guidance.

Leslie Beddard

The Leslie Beddard Scholarships are an opportunity for northeast Florida art educators to receive funds in order to facilitate their professional development.

Click HERE to find out more.

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