Instructor Mary Vartikian standing in front of the crit wall with an unidentified female student, circa 1959. Photographer unknown.
On February 18th, former faculty member Mary Vartikian passed away at the age of 96. A graduate of Chouinard Art Institute, Mary taught drawing and illustration at Art Center from the 1950s to the late 1980s. She began in the early days at the Third Street campus, when the College was still under the direction of Tink Adams. For over thirty years she taught and influenced thousands of students. Professionally Mary worked with costume design at Hollywood Costume and several Hollywood studios. Her personal work included cubist and collage style paintings. She lived and worked in a home and studio she shared with her husband, another former faculty member, George Harris, who passed away in 2001.
Mary Vartikian “Diggins” 1980. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Photography by Alexis Babayan, 2013
This past Spring, Vartikian’s niece Suzanne Babayan contacted Art Center on behalf of her aunt’s estate to ask if we would be interested in accessioning any of her collection. The estate generously donated a number of items to Art Center, including six paintings, sketches and drawings, costume designs, photographs of her and her work, an easel, drawing table, and art supplies. The Mary Vartikian collection of work and photographs is housed in the College Archives and the paintings will be hung around campus. We are excited to share some of Mary’s work with the Art Center community.
Mary’s great-niece Alexis Babayan created a Flickr site containing images of Mary and her work. If you had Mary as an instructor, please share your memories.
To visit Art Center’s Archives or to donate materials, contact Art Center Archivist Robert Dirig at 626.396.2208 or firstname.lastname@example.org