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John Frazer: Professor of Art, Emeritus Taught Drawing, Film for 42 Years

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes consecutively at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He's pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own paintings. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He's pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own still life paintings. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

After 42 years of teaching, and a lifetime of painting and drawing, John Frazer isn’t ready to rinse his brushes clean just yet.

Although the professor of art, emeritus, is wheelchair-bound after six knee surgeries, his art studio remains intact. Set-up easels, brushes and oil paints, a painter’s palate and untouched cotton canvases await his return.

“I haven’t been able to paint in over a year, but I will return to painting. I am sure of that, but I prefer to work standing up,” Frazer says. “It’s the only way I’ve ever worked.”

Frazer, a Texas native, came to Wesleyan in 1959 for a one-year appointment teaching painting and drawing to undergraduates.

“I got off the bus on Main Street in Middletown, walked up to campus and looked at the Davison Art Center, and said, ‘I’m going to stay here,'” he recalls.

Frazer, now 76, was 27 years old at the time. He had recently completed a Fulbright grant