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James Surls

(b.1943)

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Biography

James Surls was born April 19, 1943, in Terrell, Texas. In 1966 he received a bachelor of science degree from Sam Houston State College at Huntsville, and in 1969 he received a master of fine arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art at Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. After a brief stint at the Ashford Hollow Foundation foundry in Buffalo, he moved to Dallas in 1969. Surls taught sculpture at Southern Methodist University from 1970-1975. He moved to the Houston area in 1976 and taught sculpture at the University of Houston until 1982. His home and studio were established in Splendora, Texas, north of Houston. In 1979 he founded the Lawndale Annex as an extension of the University of Houston art department. The annex was a laboratory for avant-garde art, music, dance, and theatre. It matured into Lawndale Art and Performance Center and in 1998 changed its name to Lawndale Art Center.

Award Surls has received include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1979; he was selected as “1991 Texas Artist of the Year” by the Art League of Houston and he received the “1993 Living Legend Award” from the Dallas Visual Art Center. In 1997 he established a second home and studio in Basalt, Colorado.