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Sculptor Mosley gets documentary treatment

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Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012

Pittsburgh may have an African American artist of renown linked to its past, but it also has one well-known black artist working and exhibiting today.

A widely respected sculptor, both here and abroad, Thaddeus Mosley of the North Side is the subject of a recently completed documentary by Pittsburgh filmmaker Ken Love titled "Thaddeus Mosley: Sculptor."

The 45-minute documentary chronicles the life and love of sculpture that motivated this self-taught artist to create hundreds of works primarily in wood from throughout the region over the course of his 60-plus year career.

Born in 1926 in New Castle, Mosley earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh after service in the U.S. Navy. After working briefly for the Pittsburgh Courier as a sportswriter and photographer, he took a job with the postal service where he worked during the days, to support his family of six children, and sculpted at night.

Mosley's sculptures, made primarily of cherry, walnut and sycamore logs, have been exhibited throughout the country, as well as at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and Manchester Craftsmen's Guild.

He is also a widely respected instructor, having given countless workshops on woodcarving at colleges and art centers locally and regionally. He taught wood sculpture every summer for more than 20 years at the Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, Fayette County.

Included in the film are interviews and commentary by Richard Armstrong, former director of Carnegie Museum of Art and current director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City; artist Sam Gilliam; poet Ed Roberson; artist and writer David Lewis, author of "Thaddeus Mosley: African-American Sculptor" (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997); William E. Strickland Jr., CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corp.; and Lynda S. Waggoner, vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and founding executive director of the Touchstone Center.

"Students adored him at Touchstone, and he had quite a following there," Waggoner says in the film. "I can't imagine that there was ever a better teacher, or more beloved teacher, than Thad."

The film, which debuted Feb. 1 at the Twentieth Century Club in Oakland, has yet to be distributed in wide release.


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