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 Harold Dodge  (1924 - 1990)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: landscape, wildlife, urban and naturalist scene painting

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Harold  Dodge
An example of work by Harold Dodge
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc.:
Harold Dodge, noted Buffalo, NY artist, was also an environmentalist, musician, teacher, photographer and lecturer known for his acrylic paintings of urban and natural scenes.  In the 1960’s Dodge began a distinguished volunteer career with various local naturalist, environmental and land-use planning organizations.  He worked to establish two environmental education centers in the Western New York area; the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center and the Tifft Farm Nature Preserve.  He served as chairman of the Tifft Farm Development Committee, and was its first president during the Preserve’s critical formative years in the mid 1970’s.  In addition, he also served as chairman of the Erie County Environmental Management Council, chairman of the Erie County Development Coordination Board and as a member of the Town of Boston Planning Board.  He maintained his residence and studio on Back Creek Road in Boston, NY.

Harold Dodge's early training was for a musical career.  He attended the Buffalo Public Schools and graduated from the Fosdick-Masten High School in 1943. Following one year at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, he entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Air Force, where he received training as an air navigator.  He served in World War II in the 446th Bomber Group, 707th Bombardment Squadron, flying in 35 missions over occupied Europe as the navigator of a B-24 Bomber dubbed “Shoo Shoo Baby”.  He closed his tour of duty at the 8th Air Force Headquarters near London, England, doing plotting work on Radar installations.  He continued his service as a Captain in the Air Force Reserves. While stationed in England, he met and married his future wife Barbara with whom he later raised five children; Vicki, Carol, Judy, Darrell and Susan.  Upon his return to the U.S., Dodge obtained an accounting degree from Bryant and Stratton Business School and worked as a junior executive at General Mills, Buffalo, NY.  Dodge was largely a self-taught artist and never had any formal training with the exception of several workshops with friend Charles Movalli (American, 1945-).

In 1953 he became assistant manager of the George A. Terry Company, a manufacturer of specialized tools for the aviation industry.  He retired as the owner of Terry Tools, Inc. in 1989 and transferred the company to his children.

“Painting has remained important all through my life…In art I have been not so much interested in developing a distinctive style as in exploring many styles – and, in so doing, learning and growing as an artist...I have generally sought growth and diversity…I am looking for freedom of expression that will enable me to speak through art in the same way I can through the written and spoken word and through music. My interests are broad – and I take them all seriously.  We can only get full enjoyment – real FUN – out of doing something if we are serious about it.  The only real limits to our lives are those we place upon ourselves.”[1]-Harold Dodge

Harold was an accomplished musician, with a flare for song writing.  He played many instruments including the piano, guitar, banjo, trumpet, French horn, cello, violin and his hand-made dulcimers.  He conducted a popular series of educational programs and concerts at public schools, featuring multi-media slide presentations and films showing the complex ecology of Western New York wildlife, forests and wetlands.  The programs showcased his own songs and sing-a-longs on environmental themes, accompanied by his guitar, banjo or one of his hand-made dulcimers.  He also taught and held demonstrations on painting techniques for many groups and organizations in and around the Buffalo area.

Chronology:

1924- Born, Buffalo, NY.

1943- Graduated from the Fosdick-Masten High School in 1943, Buffalo, NY.

1944- Entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Air Force, where he received training as an air navigator. He served in the 446th Bomber Group, 707th Bombarment Squadron, flying in 35 missions over occupied Europe as the navigator of a B-24 Bomber dubbed “Shoo Shoo Baby”.  

c1944-45- While stationed in Europe during WWII in the Air Force, Harold met and married his future wife Barbara with whom he later raised five children; Vicki, Carol, Judy, Darrell and Susan.

c1945- Closed his tour of Duty in the U.S. Air Force at the Air Force Headquarters near London, England, doing plotting work on Radar installations. He continued his service as a Captain in the Air Force Reserves. He began painting as a hobby.

c1945-53- After WWII, while back in the U.S. Harold obtained an accounting degree from Bryant and Stratton Business School and worked as a junior executive at General Mills, Buffalo, NY.

1953- Became assistant manager of the George A. Terry Company, a manufacturer of specialized tools for the aviation industry.

1973- Exhibited, first one-man show, Associated Artists Organization (AAO), Wilcox Mansion Gallery Lincoln & Fillmore Rooms, 18 large oil and acrylic ornithology paintings and 4 pen & ink drawings, with proceeds donated to the Beaver Meadow Nature Center, Buffalo, NY.

c1980’s- Traveled to Colorado, Montana and New Mexico to find subject matter for a series of new nature paintings and to further develop his technique, which was largely self-taught, with the exception of several workshops with friend Charles Movalli (American, 1945-).

1982- Reduced his volunteer activities to devote more time to painting. Exhibited, in one of five (5-person) mini solo shows, at the AAO Gallery, industrial and cityscape paintings, Buffalo, NY.

1983- Exhibited, Sill House Gallery (Jackson-Sill house), 224 Liberty Street, Warren, PA. Exhibited, juried show, at the 12th Annual Art Festival of the Hamburg Art Society in Hamburg Memorial Park, wins best-in-show award for the acrylic untitled painting on paper of a Colden Street Scene, 1983, Hamburg, NY.

1983-85- President of the Hamburg Art Society, Hamburg, NY.

1984- Received the Distinguished Contribution to Community Award from the Local Section and Upstate Region Chapter of the American Planning Association, which acknowledged his 20 years of service in environmental and planning areas, including Tifft Farm, the founding of the Buffalo Audubon Society’s Beaver Meadow Environmental Education Center, presidency of the Buffalo Ornithological Society, work as officer and member of the board of directors of the New York State Association of Conservation Commissions, Chairmanship of the Town of Boston Conservation Council and Erie County Development Coordination Board, and membership on the Southtowns Planning Group and Town of Boston Planning Board, Buffalo, NY.

1986- Exhibited, “Buffaloscapes, Paintings By Harold Dodge”, West Side and Waterfront paintings of Buffalo, Art Dialogue Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1989- Retired as the owner of Terry Tools, Inc. and transferred the company to his children.

1990- Died, November 7th, at his home at the age of 66 after a long illness, Boston, NY.

Member of: Hamburg Art Society (President 1983-85, and on board of directors), Hamburg, NY; Associated Art Organizations (AAO, gallery director), Buffalo, NY; Officer & member of the board of directors of the New York State Association of Conservation Commissions, Buffalo, NY; Buffalo Audubon Society’s Beaver Meadow Environmental Education Center, Buffalo, NY; Buffalo Ornithological Society (once president), Buffalo, NY; Southtowns Planning Group, Buffalo, NY; Town of Boston Planning Board, Boston, NY; Boston Conservation Advisory Council (secretary), Boston, NY; The Buffalo Chapter of the National Audubon Society, North Java, NY; the Erie County Environmental Management Council, Buffalo, NY; The Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, Buffalo, NY; The National Wildlife Federation; The Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, NY.

Honors & Prizes: Received the Distinguished Contribution to Community Award from the Local Section and Upstate Region Chapter of the American Planning Association, Buffalo, NY; Best-in-Show award, juried show, at the 12th Annual Art Festival of the Hamburg Art Society in Hamburg Memorial Park, for the acrylic untitled painting on paper of a Colden street scene, 1983, Hamburg, NY; First prize and numerous other awards and ribbons.

Other media: Created the movie “Waterways of Western New York”, which focuses on the wildlife that lives along its shores.

(Rewritten & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 11/2008.

Sources:

Supplied biographical information, PDF’s, newspaper clippings and quote [1] from Harold Dodge’s daughter Carol Zwolski; The Buffalo Evening News, “Wilcox Art Exhibit Will Feature Harold Dodge’s World of Birds”, by Jean Reeves News Art Critic, March 1st, 1973; The Buffalo Courier Express, “Wilcox Mansion Exhibit Show of Style, Variety”, by Nancy Tobin Willig Courier-Express Art Critic, Art Notes section, March 11th, 1973; Allentowner Magazine, a Publication of the Allentown Association, Vol. 1, #5, pg. 4, May 1986; Unknown newspaper art article, “Art Gallery at Wilcox mansion One of a Kind in United States”, 1973; The Jamestown Newspaper, “Artist to Display Work”, article, Warren, PA, October 2nd, 1983; The Hamburg Sun newspaper, “Art Festival Attracts Thousands Harold Dodge Wins Best in Show”, art article, Thursday, September 15th, 1983; Unknown newspaper article, “Soft Twang of Mountain Music Finds Its Way to Boston Hills”, by Grace Goddard, unknown date; The Buffalo Courier Express, Courier Calendar, section B-6, Friday, January 15th, 1982)

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