Finton Joe Shaw (1946-2012)
Finton Joe Shaw passed away in Little Rock, on May 20, 2012, at the age of 65.
Finton was born in Little Rock, on Oct. 26, 1946, and grew up primarily in England, Ark.
After graduating in 1965, Finton enlisted in the United States Air Force and served until 1969. He returned to Arkansas and lived in Little Rock until 1982 at which time he moved to Conway, and started his own structural steel business. Over the years, he developed an artistic ability that led him into sculpting and various mediums of sculptural art where he was recognized with many achievements.
Finton possessed a special warmth about him; he never met a stranger. He handled everything in his life with strength, compassion and sincerity.
Finton is survived by three sons, Eric Princeton and his wife Carmen, Aaron Travis and his wife Heather, and Brandon Gregory, all of Little Rock.
He is also survived by one brother, Dr. B. Frank Shaw and his wife Mary, of Broken Arrow, Okla.; and one sister, Hannah Gay Buffalo and her husband Marvin, of England, Ark.
He is also survived by four grandchildren, Bethany, Taylor, Zane and Brandon, all of Little Rock.
Finton was preceded in death by his parents, Marylene Foster Shaw and Byford Franklin Shaw of England, Ark.
Memorial services will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at the Roller-McNutt Chapel in Conway.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the University of Central Arkansas Foundation for the Gene Hatfield Scholarship Fund at 201 Donaghey Ave, Conway, AR 72035.
Conway sculptor Finton Shaw was champion of the arts
Posted: May 21, 2012 - 7:26pm
By Becky Harris
LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER
Conway lost a champion of the arts on Sunday with the passing of Finton Shaw, 65, a self-taught ironworker whose striking artwork filled his sculpture garden near Cadron Creek, drawing fans and critics alike.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Roller-McNutt Funeral Home.
Shaw urged the city to draw on and encourage its many artists to create a cultural atmosphere.
"Art stimulates and teaches tolerance," he said in 2002 as he was organizing a group of artists.
"It can have a healing effect or it can create food for thought. Yes, some people may be enraged by it, but at least it will shock them in addressing an issue."
Shaw came to the aid of his good friend and retired UCA art professor Gene Hatfield when sculptures and parts for sculptures in the making filled Hatfield's lawn. The collection was criticized by neighbors and ruled a violation of city code, ending in a fine for Hatfield.
Shaw appeared before the Conway City Council in support of Hatfield and was among more than 200 supporters rallying at Hatfield's home, signing a petition asking Conway officials to drop the $250 fine.
"Finton was an enigma and a titan in the art of sculpture," Hatfield said. "He was well-read, independent of criticism and the critics of his work.
"His emphasis on sexuality, criticised by some, focused on the importance of human relationships and our penchant to immoralize them," Hatfield said.
Shaw sculpted a bust of Hatfield that is now in the library at the University of Central Arkansas.
A bust of former President Bill Clinton by Shaw was incomplete at Shaw's death, Hatfield said.
Artist and former gallery owner Roberta Coyne said she had a great deal of respect for Shaw as a person and an artist.
He was one of the artists represented in the gallery she operated on Oak Street.
"He was at every opening, greeting the public and other artists. He opened up the world of art for those who might not have been exposed to the arts. His passing is a real loss for the world."
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at [email protected] and 505-1234.)
Group hopes to forge new views on art in Conway
Log Cabin Staff Writer
Published Sunday, December 01, 2002
Sculptor Finton Shaw envisions a city filled with art.
A tall iron statue, city walls covered with story-telling murals and rows of fine art galleries, all elements of an art culture the 56-year-old artist said should exist in Conway but doesn't.
"We are right on a major thoroughfare (Interstate 40) from east to west and we don't have anything but fast food chains and restaurants -- is that what we want to be known for?," said Shaw, a member of an artists group called the Outer Edge, whose mission is to promote and support public art, fine art museums and art galleries.
The group plans a public art exhibit set Thursday, Dec. 5, through Saturday, Dec. 7, at 1090 Spencer St.
The work of Shaw and the artist group has prompted university and city officials and other local artists to spearhead public art projects for Conway.
Also, news of a longtime artist fined by the city for the way he displayed his art outside on his property propelled public art atop the agenda of city officials.
Shaw, a structural steel wielder, began sculpting metals in the late 1990s after he was injured in a fall from a building while working. Later he suffered four heart attacks, forcing him to work part-time.
While nursing his injury and improving his health, Shaw sought therapy in creating light ornamental iron pieces, such as elaborately designed gates and fences.
After only a few years, the self-taught sculptor worked to complete more than 50 metal and wood sculptures ranging from four feet tall to 20 feet tall, displayed for the public in his sculpture garden on two acres of land near Cadron Ridge.
Like his garden, Shaw wishes the city supported more private or public art projects that would grace the city's landscape for the more than 40,000 residents in Conway to see.
"People want to go somewhere, where there is culture," he said. "Conway needs to become more cultural."
A cultural movement Shaw hopes the planned art exhibit will be part of that cultural movement. Works from clay statues and paintings to ceramics, fabrics and iron sculptors will be on display.
Shaw said the exhibit will serve as a platform for the public to get to know the artists and to discover how art can benefit a community.
"Art stimulates and teaches tolerance," he said. "It can have a healing effect or it can create food for thought. Yes, some people may be enraged by it, but at least it will shock them in addressing an issue."
While Shaw enlisted artists to spread the word for the need for more art, city officials and the University of Central Arkansas partnered in an effort to plan art for display throughout the city.
The display of public art may be less in Conway than other Arkansas cities because residents here strongly depend and support the arts at the city's universities, said Barbara Satterfield, director of the Baum Gallery at UCA.
"What has happened historically in Conway is that the people depend on the colleges for their cultural activities," she said. "Because so many good things have been offered by the universities, the local populace may have not been concerned in developing their own."
Satterfield said the university, the city and the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce are working together to take "art from the university campus to the community."
Formation of a public arts push Friends of the Gallery, UCA's art supporters, established in September the Public Art Administration Committee, a panel of 20 volunteers researching possible future public art projects for the city.
The projects could entail murals, statues, fine art sculptures or recreations of age-old structures such as train depots or cotton gins, Satterfield said.
"Those programs may not exist now, but there is a lot of interest," Satterfield said. "It's going to take all of us. I hope we all can work together to enrich the artist community."
As part of the public art push, the city council passed a resolution in support of the public art initiative that Satterfield said is in the early stages.
In the past two decades, a growing number of city and state governments have discovered how public art can help enhance development and improve their image.
Nationwide, about 300 cities in 30 states provide funding and support for public art.
In Arkansas, cities like Eureka Springs, Hot Springs and Little Rock have long supported public and fine art.
The city's art works Shaw said he is skeptical of the city's plan to place public art in the city, citing an incident involving his friend and mentor Gene Hatfield who was cited by the city for the art he displayed in his sculptor garden.
Hatfield, 76, was fined $250 by police in September for failing to keep up his yard, which is filled with sculptures made of old car parts and bicycles, glass and furniture.
More than 200 supporters rallied at the garden and signed a petition asking Conway officials to drop the fine levied against Hatfield, a former UCA art professor.
On Wednesday, Conway Mayor Tab Townsell toured Hatfield's yard.
Townsell visited Hatfield's garden to distinguish what could be considered art or a violation of the city ordinance.
Townsell said the city ordinance could be re-written and tailored so Hatfield, whose art is made of materials banned by the statute, could display his art without violating the ordinance.
The city council would have to determine whether to change the current ordinance.
But Shaw said he doubts the city would vote in favor Hatfield. He also said the treatment of Hatfield suggests the city would not support the public art initiative.
"The code affecting Gene Hatfield, and threatening all artists ... in this community is a direct encroachment upon the right to property and the right to freedom of expression," Shaw said. "I doubt (the city) would ask Gene or any other artists for a sculpture to put on display in the city."
Shouldering the artistic responsibility Shaw said local artists must shoulder most of the responsibility of supporting and providing art for Conway, not city officials.
One artist, watercolorist Roberta J. Coyne, has already taken that step. She opened an art gallery and gift shop called works of the heART in downtown Conway that provides a space for artists to display their work for a fee and for residents to meet with artists to learn about the trade.
"There are a lot of really nice talented artists who have been content to show (their art) at the library or bank," but not many have tried to open a gallery of their own, Coyne said. "My goal was to bring art to Conway in a more open way."
Coyne's gallery displays more than 30 artists ranging from professionals and art students to school-aged children.
Shaw is among the artists on display at Coyne's gallery. He said a collaboration between the art community and city officials wouldn't work. But he said the city could help by being more active in the arts.
"To help Conway become more artistic, it will take political officials and civic leaders to help the art emerge," he said.
(Staff writer Michael Frazier can be reached by phone at 505-1240 or by e-mail at [email protected])
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