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Remembering James Thompson

Madelyn Jones

News Editor

James Thompson

Art: Courtesy of Willamette University

James Thompson, a Willamette studio art professor and curator, passed away on Oct. 27. Chaplain Karen Wood notified the campus community of the news through an email, announcing a memorial that took place on Nov. 5 in Cone Chapel. Attached was Thompson’s obituary, written by art critic Bob Hicks. 

Thompson taught at multiple Universities, including Willamette, where he led classes on a myriad of topics including etching, painting, printmaking and a College Colloquium titled, “The Beauty, Mystery and Terror of Color.”

In the obituary, Hicks writes, “Throughout his career, Thompson was a gifted and dedicated professor who influenced a generation of students entering a variety of creative fields.”

Thompson was not just an influential teacher, but an artist, with his pieces appearing in many collections and exhibits. Hick writers that many of Thompson’s projects encompassed a multimedia exploration of a theme. Two of his pieces “focused on the degradation of natural resources.”

His last series of work, titled “Tide Charts: Ebb and Flow,” will be presented at the Dan and Gail Cannon Gallery of Art at Western Oregon University in 2020. Willamette students will be able to view the work in the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in the spring of 2021. 

The obituary states that his family encourages you to “support your local artist and/or make a donation to Willamette Valley Hospice for all the care they provide.” In her email, Wood encourages community members to reach out to resources like the chaplains or Bishop Wellness if they need support. 


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