Archives & Special Collections
Swain School of Design 1960-1969
In the 1960s, the three major programs of study students could embark on after completing the 2-year Foundation Program, were Design and Illustration, Painting, and Graphics. During this decade the school shifted its educational focus from design to an emphasis on fine arts. Several influential faculty and students were at Swain during the 1960s, including Sigmund Abeles, a noted New York figurative artist, who was instructor in Drawing and Graphics from 1961-1964.
Others included David Loeffler Smith, Melvin Zabarsky, Scattergood-Moore, Ron Kowalke, Sererin Haines and Leonard Dufresne. For more references, see the review of the 1999 exhibit “Swain Resurgent”.(From the New Bedford Standard Times.)
David Loeffler Smith was hired as the new director in 1962. He emphasized that no changes would be made to the four-year program, citing the importance of the Foundation Program for all students. Smith, an established artist himself, studied in New York with Hans Hofman and Raphael Soyer. He taught painting, and alternatively, served as director and dean at Swain for 26 years.
The school expanded the liberal arts curriculum, with an eye towards applying for a license to grant the bachelor of arts degree (1967), which they received in 1969.
Tuition in 1968 was $650 per year. Classes for adults and children were still held on Saturdays and in the summers. William J. Finn took over as director in 1966 and embarked on a period of expansion. Several buildings were added to the physical plant in the late 1960s to accommodate expected increased enrollment.