Swampscott High School Alumni

Swampscott, Massachusetts (MA)

Alumni Stories

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Edmund W. Pease

Edmund W. Pease

Class of 1952

Since the 1970s I have actively pursued parallel career paths as a management executive and as a visual artist. While working as vice president (individual investment services) for Chase Manhattan Bank and serving as the number 2 executive at the American Council for the Arts and as the chief administrative officer of two art museums in America, I was simultaneously making, exhibiting and selling my artwork under the nom de brosse Lancelott.

Between 1980 and 2003 I have had 4 one-person exhibitions in New York City plus 4 different shows in Bangkok. In recent years I have had exhibitions at the world headquarters of Janssen Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey, Chulalongkorn University, The National Gallery & Silpakorn University Cultural Center in Thailand. In addition, two National Galleries (Jordan & Thailand) have each acquired a major painting for their permanent collection.

In the spring of 2006, the idea behind RIVER OF SILENCE began to take shape in discussions between the former director of The National Gallery of Thailand and myself. After I told the director about the new series of paintings on which I was working in which each of the paintings would be inspired by a specific piece of music, the two of us began to speculate: Could we ask two or three artists to create similar works; then invite musical artists to view the work and write brief commentaries on what they experience, how they respond, and what they think about when viewing specific art works that were created in response to specific musical composition?
This was the genesis of the concept that was the foundation upon which the whole RIVER OF SILENCE project was built. The results of that unique experiment have been documented in the book RIVER OF SILENCE, published last fall by Silpakorn University, the leading fine arts university in Thailand.

The title for this book, which explores inter-relationships in art and music, is taken from a quotation in The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:

“Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.”

RIVER OF SILENCE is, in part, a book on aesthetics: examining how we experience visual art. More broadly it is an exploration of interactions in art and music. Adding a 32 page powerful photo-essay on the creation of a new dance piece enables the book to demonstrate the power of art, music and dance to act as universal languages for profound communication between people from diverse cultural, ethnic and geographical backgrounds.

The richness and perspective found in its pages is enhanced by the diverse backgrounds of the people writing for the book. Two-thirds of the 26 musical artists, composers, conductors, performing artists, art historians and musical scholars, who have written for RIVER OF SILENCE, are from eight different countries, outside Thailand. To the extent that the book is successful in fulfilling its mission, a large part of the credit must go to those individuals, who contributed to its pages.

I am proud to have bee one of the three artists selected by the curators to participate in the RIVER OF SILENCE exhibitions and to have had a role in guiding the project as volunteer project director. The publications of this book and the exhibitions have been culminating events in my career as a visual artist.

Over the years I have served as an active volunteer in the fields of the arts & dance, non-profit publishing, theological and university education .as well as national leadership positions in my church. Among the positions I have held are vice president of Martha Graham Dance Company (New York City) & vice chairman of Garth Fagan Dance (leading minority modern dance company based in Rochester ,New York): member of the Board of Beacon Press (Boston) : president, St. Lawrence Foundation for Theological Education; at Columbia University I was elected Alumni Senator, served as Special Gifts Chairman , member of Dean’s Advisory Council & Committee to select a New Dean for my alma mater; as well as Alumni Trustees Nominating Committee. I was elected president of two regional conferences of my denomination; served 8 years on the continental board of the Unitarian Universalist Association and w as chairman of the board of Starr King School for the Ministry (Berkeley , California).

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