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 Joanne Margarethe Hansen  (1879 - 1965)

About: Joanne Margarethe Hansen


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Lived/Active: Iowa / Denmark      Known for: teaching, painting, crafts

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An artist with impressive academic credentials, Joanna Hansen was a native of Denmark whose career as an art educator began with a diploma in applied art from Pratt Institute (NYC) in 1905 and certification in art drawing from Iowa State Teacher's College (1906), where she completed her Bachelors degree in education (1917).

Her early academic appointments included working as an elementary teacher in Estherville, Iowa, serving as a principal in Ottumwa, Iowa, and supervising art instruction for the Sioux City (IA) public school system. In 1915, Hansen came to Iowa State University (then, Iowa State College) due to an invitation from Catherine McKay, a legendary campus dean; Hansen worked as a summer term instructor. Within five years, she became chair of the Applied Arts program within the division of home economics, a position that she held for the next twenty years (1920-1941). During her time on campus, Hansen completed her Masters in Fine Art from Columbia University (1924) with a Supervisor of Art certificate from the Teacher's College (1924). Further training came at the Art Students League (NYC) and at the Stone City Art Colony, where she spent two summers (1932-1933) and lived in one of the famed ice wagons.

While employed at the university, Hansen served on two national conferences for home ownership and remained an active painter. Noted exhibitions featuring her paintings included the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs (1931) and the Iowa Art Salon (1935-1936). Additional showings included the Iowa Artists Exhibit, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa (1938); the Five States Exhibit at the Joslyn Museum of Art, Omaha; as well as displays in Boston, London, St. Louis, Chicago, and Boulder, Colorado. Hansen's significant academic talents made her an ideal host for a radio series on paintings (1927-1928) airing on WOI-Ames, Iowa. She edited and authored numerous articles on home design and rural life; Hansen also served as a member of Herbert Hoover's President's Council on Housing (1930-1933).

In Iowa, she was appointed state chairman of the Better Homes in America program. Hansen's leadership allowed the local community to place first in several, national competitions, resulting in a fountain commission for the city of Ames. Her lasting gift to the university was designing the 1926 wing of MacKay Hall, incorporating large hallways, open patios and tiled fountains that graced a rotunda. An artist-in-residence at Iowa State University (1949-1950), Hansen remained an active faculty member and retired in 1941 as a full professor. She was an avid, world traveler and well-known for her publishing, including numerous articles in The Iowa Homemaker. Hansen lived in the Ames area for most of her life and died there in 1965.

When Tillage Begins:The Stone City Art Colony and School, Published online October 2003 by the Busse Library, Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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