New Exhibit | Jon Sutton: Music, Art, & Life

Jon Sutton watercolor of Spencer ButteJon Sutton was a multi-talented artist, photographer, composer, musician, poet, designer, teacher (and more!) as well as a beloved community member. Our new exhibit celebrates highlights of Jon’s life, spanning events that informed his creative practice.

Special collections and archives, like this repository at the University of Oregon, seek to collect photographs, ephemera, moving images, recordings, art, artifacts, and documents that reflect the practices of everyday lives. We document this history because we value the preservation of individual and community experiences for more accurate contemporary and future scholarship. Students and scholars engage with these experiences (which have often been historically overlooked) in their research.

The Jon Sutton papers include multiple versions of music scores, some of which he worked on for decades. They serve as evidence of the intricacies involved in composing music and allow students and scholars to observe this creative practice over a lifetime. Ella Evers-Meinardi and the Sutton family generously transferred copyright to the University of Oregon. Students and others can now perform and utilize Jon’s music in their own creative and scholarly works, generating new art and knowledge.

Jon documented his experience of the Korean War through art and photography. Humorous and poignant army base and street scenes such as these are captivating to researchers. These materials are valuable resources for teaching and research at the University of Oregon, informing courses like the History of War (where students study original photographs, diaries, and artifacts for their research projects) as well as the East Asian Studies discipline (through which faculty produce scholarship about Korean history and culture.)

Also on display are selections of Jon’s art and his book of poems, which were sometimes integrated into his works. His paintings and tapestries are held in public and private collections. Jon’s creative practice extended to stage, furniture, and game design, some examples of which are featured here. Creative works like these inspire researchers in innovative and unexpected ways. Faculty at the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts have used patent drawings discovered while browsing our special collections in new manipulated, curious illustrations which we then exhibited. We look forward to the discoveries current and future scholars, students, and community members will surface in Jon Sutton’s papers.

Jon Sutton: Music, Art, & Life will be on view in the Paulson Reading Room, Knight Library through April 2017.

The online finding aid for the Jon Sutton papers at the University of Oregon can be located on Archives West.

By Tatiana Bryant, Digital Projects and Engagement Librarian

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