September 9, 2011
Art, psychology and aging: New Roy Langford exhibition features lecture by noted gerontologist William Thomas
An exhibition of art by a former K-State psychology professor and a lecture by an international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare are part of the events marking the 60th anniversary of the Kansas State University department of psychology.
In honor of the anniversary, K-State's Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art will present the exhibition "Art and Psychology: The Work of Roy Langford (1903-1990)" from Sept. 14-Dec. 18. The exhibition's opening will be celebrated with a reception from 1:30-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Beach Museum of Art. The reception, sponsored by the department of psychology, is free and open to the public.
Dr. William Thomas, a gerontologist and author, will present "Eldertopia, How Elders Will Change the World" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, in K-State's All Faiths Chapel. Thomas' free presentation will focus on the insight and creativity that later life can bring. In conjunction with the lecture, the Beach Museum will be open until 7 p.m. for anyone who wants to view the Langford exhibition before Thomas' presentation.
Thomas' lecture will look at why developing a new perspective on age and aging is both necessary and possible, particularly in light of the impact of aging on families and society. For Thomas, a part-time position as medical director of a small rural nursing home early in his career turned into a full-time, lifelong passion for improving the well-being of older people. He is the author of several books about aging, including "The Eden Alternative: Nature, Hope and Nursing Homes," "The Eden Alternative Handbook" and "What are Old People For? How Elders Will Save the World."
The lecture is sponsored by the Beach Museum of Art Richard Coleman Lecture Fund; office of the K-State president; K-State Center on Aging; K-State Libraries and its Dow Chemical Multicultural Resource Center Endowment; K-State College of Human Ecology; Manhattan's Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community; K-State department of psychology; K-State department of interior architecture and product design; the Retire to the Flint Hills Committee of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce; and the Manhattan Public Library.
A former K-State psychology professor for 40 years, Langford's exhibition traces his methodological approach as a painter and provides an avenue for a better understanding of his research in perceptual psychology and teaching about the psychology of art.
Langford, a committed landscape painter, also taught a special course on art and psychology during his time at K-State.
"Langford's popular class, Psychology of Art, taught students about the many ways that art and the science of psychology overlap," said Irene Ward, associate professor emeritus of English at K-State and guest curator for the exhibition. "He was very interested in perception and was able to link the viewing of art to the science of perception.
"He was passionate and knowledgeable in both areas, and his passion rubbed off on many students. Langford's ultimate goal in the class was to increase our appreciation of the world by means of the appreciation of art," Ward said.
Ward and Clive Fullagar, professor of psychology at K-State and guest curator, worked closely with Elizabeth Seaton, Beach Museum associate curator, to organize the exhibition. Its 20 works are drawn from the Beach Museum's collection, the Langford family, the Manhattan Public Library and Meadowlark Hills.
"Residents of Meadowlark Hills, especially Rae Stamey, helped us locate the Langford paintings in their extensive collection," Ward said. "Residents shared memories of Langford with us and helped us build a picture of this interesting man and his life."
Born in Cherokee, Kan., Langford received his master's in psychology from K-State in 1926 and his doctorate in psychology from Stanford University in 1934.
The Beach Museum of Art is on the southeast corner of the K-State campus at 14th Street and Anderson Avenue. Free visitor parking is available next to the building. Normal museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays. For more information, call 785-532-7718.