This week, colleagues and friends marked a ceremonial passing of the torch as Warren Rosser stepped down as chair of the painting department at the Kansas City Art Institute.
"After 28 years, I think it was time to pass it on to someone else, so to speak," he says.
Rosser's tenure as chair of the department is reportedly the longest, to date. He's taught at the Art Institute for 42 years, and says he will continue to do so.
"The teaching is still very nourishing and very challenging. I just felt that I had, frankly, tired of the administrative role," Rosser says. "I just want to have more focused energy for my work."
Associate professor Julie Farstad, a member of the faculty since 2005, will be taking on the leadership role in the department.
Rosser, a native of Wales, attended Cardiff College of Art in South Wales and Goldsmith's College at the University of London, England. He moved to the United States in 1972.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Rosser branched out from his background as a painter, creating sculpture and mixed-media wall reliefs. He returned to painting in 1998, and has had a number of solo shows in the Midwest —and around the world.
In 2000, he was one of six recipients of a visual artist award from the Charlotte Street Foundation. Another award winner, James Woodfill, was a former student. In the past decade, Rosser says he's worked to build up the painting department, recruiting new faculty, such as Farstad, Jessie Fisher, Corey Antis, and Woodfill.
"Warren has been a great teacher and mentor to me for over 35 years," says Woodfill, now an assistant professor. "His leadership will leave an indelible mark on the painting department, its faculty, and its students for many many years to come."