Ron Taylor

Profile Updated: February 26, 2019
Ron Taylor
Ron Taylor

Then

Ron Taylor

Now

Ron Taylor

Yearbook

Yes! Attending Reunion
Residing In: Benton Harbor, MI USA
Occupation: Trustee , Mary's City of David
Comments:

Realizing I have never given an account to the Class of 1969. I'll give it whirl.
I went to what is now the Center for creative studies in Detroit for 2 years and then transferred to the San Francisco Art Institute in 1971. It was in SF that I embraced dance as a subject for figure drawing. One of my drawing classes brought in a dancer from the SF Ballet...wow! Motion in BEAUTY. In 1972 I had the opportunity to become a guest of the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence) for my entire senior year. It was in Providence that learned the most about drawing as I was instructed by the Dept. head to do a month of nothing but studies using the graet Italian masters of the 15th and 16th C. I received my BFA in 1973 from SFAI and returned to BH.

I worked a number of odd jobs and in May, 1974 I took a job at the City of David Greenhouse. My grand parents joined the House of David in Sydney, Australia (1919) and came to America in 1932 to Join in with Mary Purnell's reorganization of the House of David (1930). My family has now been involved with the HoD for 100 years. I was not raised in the House of David teachings and only began looking into them when I was in San Francisco. All my life, religious cultures have interested and fascinated me. In Detroit I was part of a group called the New Renaissance Brotherhood an array of musicians, artists, poets, mystics from all walks of life and all parts of the world. While at San Francisco I looked at many religions including numerous visits to Zen Center and the young lady I dated from NY was Catholic; one of my roommates followed eastern mysticism. At Providence is when I began to seriously study the teachings of the House of David and began my pursuit and fascination with the Divine image: Beauty equals Purpose.

After 2 1/2 years working at the green house, I joined the community, of then 56 members, from many parts of America and the world. I am now into year 42 of membership in this communal society based on the Book of Acts account of the communal order of Jews at Jerusalem that followed Jesus.
I cannot begin to tell or explain the continuous learning and satisfying experience this has been. I have learned or participated in numerous trades from the green house to roofing, carpentry, plumbing, minor electrical, farming and on...>>>>. My favorite toy is our 1968 John Deere 1010C bull dozer that I have operated, now 30 years.

I began keeping a JOURNAL in 1969 to record and use as reference, all the learning from Colleges of Art to community maintenance. I am presently in Bound Volume #68 (192 pgs. 8 1/2 X 14 VOL.). Burke Library, Special Collections, has purchased all volumes (2009) with the account that all subsequent volumes will also be purchased. A rare books seller in Maine (a friend of mine and a Shaker scholar) appraised the collection and stated to Burke Library that it represented the most complete account of any one member for any one period of time for the entire history of the House of David. I was paid then, $13,000.

Amongst many of my interests was the creation of an archival Library here in Mary's Shiloh that led to the creation of A Museum (summertime) that I helped in the restoration of Mary's Auditorium (1997) for that usage. Which led to my working with the State of Michigan Historic Preservation Dept. which work led to our Listing on the National Register of Historic Places in America (June 15, 2009)== 141 acres with 81 structures. We are SW MI largest "Historic District". This led to my greeting of Gov. Granholm on her "Hidden Treasures of MI" tour; as we were the only stop in BH. Which led to a recognition by the Berrien County Hist. Assoc.; I received the first Frank J. Ward Memorial History Award (2010) for preservation and presentation of Berrien County history sites. Along the line of community services I was a volunteer for Blossomtime Festival (2002-2012) in which I curated the pictorial history for the Centennial of Blossomtime exhibit at the Box Factory, SJ (March 2006). I was awarded a car ride in the Grand Floral Parade that year for "Volunteer of the Year Award". The following year I rode again as an honorary Grand Marshal in the parade. The work with Blossomtime also awarded me opportunities to do portraits of some of the community queens. MY VERY FAVORITE MISS BLOSSOMTIME was Miss Benton Harbor, 2004, Brittany Brown, who was a dance student. I had to shoots with her; one in the dance studio and once out at Lake Michigan Beach. She was/is a truly remarkable person; both humble and genuine.

I have written and published 8 books, 6 of which I printed and bound. 5 of these publications are in the Library of Michigan at Lansing. In the period of time from 1996 (first publication) through 2015 I have enjoyed answering requests to speak on the History of the House of David or my art training and consequent art work. That has taken me to NY, Mass. IA. KY. IN, IL. PA.; some of these locations had to do with academic conferences, where I gave a Paper on the Conference topic. My last such venture was my second visit to Amana, IA and my second paper. In 2014, I gave a paper on the substance of my art education: "The Divinity School of Art Address". Of course throughout MI has been thoroughly travelled.; mostly libraries, hist. organizations and business clubs. There was a time in 1998-99 that I was doing 1-3 a month.

To reflect the House of David base ball history, in 2001, I created a "Vintage" base ball team, called the House of David Echoes (at the request of the BC County Hist, Assoc. who also sponsored a team: the Cranberry Boggers) We played 19th C. Base Ball, using the rules of 1858 (the year Lincoln ran for a senate seat in IL and lost to Douglas). No protective equipment...no gloves. I played, as captain of the "club nine", 14 years at first base. I started playing at ago 50. We travelled all around the mid west and had great times meeting great people. I had injuries in 2014 that ended my playing career. I played first base and have only two fingers that are not broken from playing the old game.

More up to speed....I am just now recovering from a three year challenging medical/physical set back....called burn-out. As my doctor of 30 years warned me repeatedly...you cannot work 7 days; 10-12 daily for ever..

For any of you classmates that have time to peek at our museum and gift shops while attending the 50th reunion...or before or after..please contact me. Sunday I am at the museum 1-5PM..

I did considerable work in the winter of 2017-18 redoing the interiors of both gift shop blds. which is now SW MI largest summer season giftshop. If you like local history, art work, and two large buildings full of things you probably would not find elsewhere and collectibles, etc>>>. My aim in designing it was to fill it with the hard to find and one of a kind.

The bottom line with my choice of occupations was summed up perfectly by Robert Henri: " I am interested in art as a means of living a life; NOT as means of making a living."

Leonardo Da Vinci taught his students the simple lesson that to study any object in creation, one of the best ways to become familiar, aware and intimate with that subject is to take paper and pencil and draw that subject more than several times at different perspectives. Art is a means of exploration and discovery. Thus my Journals are loaded with visual discoveries.

One of the most simple and profound lessons from 4 years in colleges of art was that beauty and purpose are indivisible. My learning of this was over the 4 years of life drawing classes , 4 hours, twice a week and portraiture studies. Everything in and about the human body has a purpose. So I do art as an occasion to explore and discover which more than abundantly opened the understanding of the Divine Nature implanted in the design and purpose of the human body. Another aspect is that with only several actual exhibitions to sell art, I have fared so much better by historic collections.

Thus I have used my art work with a purpose in view. Often that purpose is to thank a person for their kindness or friendship of just a common interest thing. As art was a gift sown into the fabric of my being; I choose to use it as a gift towards those I find deserving....on Purpose.
February 24, 2019

School Story:

My memorables comes from the senior year, Advanced Biology class with Don Farnum. Don liked my biology drawings so well that he asked me to paint a picture of the Eiffel Tower. He had served in WW2 in France and was awed by the structure. I had aced all of my exams for the whole year in that class, so Don usually took my paper to use as an answer sheet by the second semester ( Machemer can support this). All of you 4.0s were in the other class, so you heard all about that as it came back to me. To top off the senior year, Don's asking for a painting of the Eiffel was in exchange for doing the final exam, which he said I'd ace anyway. So my final exam paper was an oil painting that I delivered the week of exams to his home on Union Street, where he hung it on his living room wall. I think I got an A...........

In the first semester Don called me into the class early and asked me to get all agitated and jump around and then run wildly out of the room and down the hall. So in the middle of the class period, I did exactly that........
The idea was to have all the class write their witness accounts of the scene, which he reviewed and read back. For as simple a thing as that was, I got a wide variety of accounts of what I did...........some quite remote perspectives on reality no less. It was fun, and Farnum made learning fun and very student friendly.

I would suppose the day I went into the team teaching Humanities class and sat down and made my note books ready for class. Then the lights dimmed and on the big wall screen in front of the class, was projected my picture "Royal Savage" that had been published in an artists magazine. I hadn't told anybody about it, didn't think it was that big of a deal. But Emma Wilson thought it was pretty big. Anyway, that blew my cover as to having been accepted to an Art School in Detroit, which is today the Center for Creative Study. Before the year ended I had a one-man show at the BH Public Library on the second floor. Somehow everyone thought I was going to be an artist.
There are two parts to the good news, even though I chose to follow a much more fulfilling life as opposed to going into art professionally.
I still do art work, but not on a regular basis.
As I live my life on purpose, so I do art only in relation to a purpose (or "on purpose"). I participate in the Krasl student and member shows annually. I have had the third floor balcony gallery of the Livery in down town BH for over three years as a member of the New Territory Arts Association in the BH Arts District. I have published two collections of my work: "The Divinity School of Art Address" 2008 and "100 Portraits, A Collection of 20 Years Work", 2009 and I just recently sold my entire collection of portraits and drawing to Hamilton College in NY for 15,000. The other portion of the good news is that this all is only an extention, or an out-reach of the wonderful spiritual lessons in experiences (over 35 years) within an ancient way of life (the Nazarite tradition began in the Exodus out of Egypt) that continually feeds in providence all my necessities and desires. As a child I was foreshown a number of things, some having come to pass, amongst which, I was going to do it in my own particular way, not particularly affected by success or failure, both of which are very necessary lessons "on the road to find out."

As of January 2011 I have also sold to Hamilton College all of my recent art work which I was very pleased that this will now remain as a complete collection of my work from 1969 through 2010 and held at a facility that also holds collections of Oneida tapestries, Shaker art work, Harmonist colonies art work, other House of David artist's work (Frank Rosetta) and the entire Ezra Pound poetry manuscripts collections (he was a graduate of Hamilton). I visited the college for a week last November to work in the archive collections, which is a wonderful place to both visit and work therein.

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Classmates.... Below are images that span 40 years and more. Art work, photo portraiture and other things that might fill in the blanks. My life has been full and plenteous and I have refrained from a lot of communication because of time that not often exists after my day comes to a close...trusting you will forgive my lack of interactions; it is not on purpose or because I have no interests in communications. I Thank all that have taken time to visit while in town...that is very special to me. Hope you will enjoy the images. With all due respect to all of the class of 1969.

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