By Dakota Knotts, Online Editor
Bernie Kinzel Peace, 85, of Wheeling, WV, passed away on Monday, Jan 14, 2019 in Wheeling Hospital.
He was born October 20, 1933 in Williamsburg, Kentucky and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Art, Berea College, 1954. He later went on to earn his MFA from Indiana University. As well as served in U.S. Army.
Peace was nothing less than a master of his craft, exploring multiple forms of media before focusing on his eye-catching collages. He has participated in over 300 galleries and has won over 100 awards. He cited Henri Matisse and Jackson Pollock as his influences.
Robert Villamagna, current director of the Nutting Gallery, said “Bernie was one of the best examples of an art professor staying with his craft. In other words, even though he was teaching, he was still producing work during his entire tenure at West Liberty. Even after and up until his passing, he was still producing work. The guy was very prolific.”
He taught at West Liberty State College, from 1960 to 1995 as an art professor and was the chair for many years, earning the title emeritus after taking an early retirement.
In the article “Professor Emeritus Bernie Peace Honored,” Peace stated, “I loved going to work every day. West Liberty was wonderful and I was happy to be there, we had great faculty and wonderful students. I count my blessings every day,”
Brian Fencl, current chair of the art department had only positive things to say about Peace, “One of the most influential things he did was advocate for the space that is now the Nutting Gallery here on campus. Having the administration set aside room for a gallery was something he was really passionate about and get to have happen. It’s part of his legacy.”
“Every Friday after a show would open, Bernie and his wife would come to see the show. He would come when the space was empty and he could spend as much time as he wanted, then when they would walk out and poke their heads into all the classrooms see what people were doing and what students were making.”
West Liberty currently houses several of his works across campus including the Fine Art building and the Elbin Library.
A memorial service is being planned for the spring. Arrangements by Kepner Funeral Home.
Photo Provided By: Media Relations