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 Sue Jean Hill Covacevich-Boys  (1905 - 1998)



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Lived/Active: Kansas/Colorado / Mexico      Known for: easel and mural painting, teaching, art therapy, prints

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Sue Jean Hill Covacevich is primarily known as Sue Jean Hill Covacevich-Boys

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Wellington, Feb. 14, 1905 and died 1998, Sue Jean Covacevich-Boys was a painter, teacher, lecturer, and art therapist.  She received a diploma in painting in 1927 from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas where she was a student of Birger Sandzén. 

She earned a BA from Southwestern College in 1945 and received an MA from Colorado State College, Greeley in 1950. She was a teacher at Southwestern University, Winfield and head of the art department.

She lived and taught in Mexico for 12 years where she studied with Diego Rivera and worked at the San Carlos Art School of National University.  She taught art at Derby High School and extension classes for Kansas State University, Manhattan.

Covacevich-Boys was considered a pioneer in art therapy.  She established innovative programs at the Winfield State Hospital and the Menninger Clinic.  She authored two books, Impressions of Mexico (1938) and Churches of Mexico (1944), and published folios of her prints.
Kansas Governor’s Artist Award, 1981.

Palace of Bellas Artes, Mexico City; National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires; Bogotá, Columbia; Library of Congress; International Print Collection, London; private collections in the U.S. and Latin America; Jocelyn Museum, Omaha; Nelson Gallery; Wichita Art Association; Mulvane Museum; Sandzén Memorial Art Gallery mural for the First National Bank, Winfield.

Kansas Sculptor’s Association; Wichita Art Association

Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Festival of Kansas Arts and Crafts. Catalog: Arts and Crafts of Kansas: an Exhibition held in Lawrence, Feb. 18-22, 1948 in the Community Building. Lawrence: World Co., 1948; Sain, Lydia. Kansas Artists, compiled by Lydia Sain from 1932 to 1948. Typed Manuscript, 1948.; WKDC (Kansas Artists, compiled by Woman’s Kansas Day Club. January 29, 1964. Typed Manuscript.); Arts in Kansas N.P.: American Association of University Women. Kansas Division. 1958; Belden, Dorothy. “Kansas Artists Known in World”, in Wichita Eagle Beacon, Jan. 29, 1978. p. 12K; Wichita Eagle (Nov. 2, 1947); Beach; Sandzén archives; TPL
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

Biography from Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery:
Sue Jean Covacevich-Boys

Sue Jean Covacevich-Boys was born on February 14, 1905, in Wellington, Kansas. Her parents were Harvey and Julia (Miller) Hill. She was raised in Wellington and graduated from Wellington High School.

She received a diploma in painting from Bethany College where she studied with Birger Sandzén in 1927. She also earned an A.B. degree from Southwestern College in 1945 and an M.A. degree from Colorado State University in 1950. She received an honorary doctorate from Southwestern College in 1988.

During a twelve year residence in Mexico, Sue Jean worked at the San Carlos Art School. While in Mexico she also met Diego Rivera. Upon her return to the United States she began a teaching career that would span forty-three years, teaching primary, secondary, and college levels.

A pioneer in art therapy, Sue Jean established innovative programs at the Winfield State Hospital and Training Center during the 1950s. The Menninger Clinic has used her program as a model for other institutions. Her last teaching years were at Cowley County Community College.

Boys exhibited nationally and internationally. Her prints are found in the collection of the Library of Congress. She was recognized as the Governor's Artist of the Year in 1981; cited as Outstanding Artist and Teacher, Wichita State University; and received a gold medal at the XXI Internazionale D'Arte Contemportance, Florence, Italy.

Sue Jean was the author of two books, Impressions of Mexico, 1938, and Churches of Mexico, 1944. She also published folios of her block prints.

Boys had a profound influence on the Winfield community in addition to teaching. She painted a 900-square foot mural, Historical Cowley County, in the First National Bank lobby. She founded the Winfield Arts Center which later became the Art and Humanities Council, and completed a commission for the Bicentennial Committee of Winfield for a sculpture, Gateway to the Future, installed in Island Park.

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