John Steffl’s breadth of support for the local art community ran as deep and wide as his scope as an artist. He served and advocated for artists as an educator, an administrator, and a curator. He created work steeped in beauty, yet aimed with a purpose, from political commentary to subtle humor to, perhaps most importantly, his relationships with art itself and the Great Unknown. Steffl in Steffl showcases work pivotal in John’s career, including large-scale paintings, rarely-seen ceramics, and his celebrated peony photographs.
John Steffl earned a BA in Ceramics, Painting, and Drawing at Mankato State University and an MA in Ceramics and Painting at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he taught for nearly a decade. As Curator, Artistic Director, and Executive Director at the Duluth Art Institute from 1990 to 2002, he invested in individuals and facilitated a connected community of arts and culture. The DAI Board of Directors dedicated the Steffl Gallery in 2002 as John returned to university education as a professor at the College of St. Scholastica. John Steffl died in his home with his wife, Tiss Underdahl, at his bedside in June 2018.
Image Credit: John Steffl, "Sophia's Peony," digital photography, 2010
Thank you to Janet Sklaris for supporting this exhibition.