Artist mentored students he taught over 34-year career

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Oak Park artist Jay Holland’s work is part of many public and private collections.

Right: Jay Holland’s sculpture was controversial in Brighton.

But it’s a sculpture that was commissioned by the city of Brighton that brought his name to the forefront.

“Decision Pending,” a sculpture of a nude man placed in Brighton in 2006, drew complaints from some residents who said it was inappropriate to display near Mill Pond, an area frequented by families and children. Despite the controversy, the sculpture remains in its original location.

Mr. Holland died June 15, 2016. He was 87.

“Jay Holland stood for integrity, culture, generosity and humanity,” said Todd Erickson, a former student of Holland’s at the College for Creative Studies, who considered the artist a mentor. “He and his work are optimistic, observant and hyperaware of past and present human condition.”

Mr. Holland was a part of the Fine Arts faculty at CCS for 34 years, from 1964 until he retired in 1998. He also served as section chair of the sculpture department during that time, according to the college.

“Jay Holland was a great figure in the Detroit arts community,” said Richard L. Roger, president of CCS. ... “ I was able to observe firsthand his powerful dedication to his students, his sharp intellect, his talent as an educator, and the curmudgeonly sense of humor behind which lurked a heart of gold.

“His influence over hundreds of CCS students will last for many years.”

Mr. Holland

A final showing of Mr. Holland’s work took place in January at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, according to his obituary at the Wm. Sullivan and Son Funeral Directors site. The show included his life-size warrior Manapart.

Mr. Holland was born Nov. 16, 1928, in Detroit and was one of four children, according to his biography.

He graduated from the commercial arts program at Cass Technical High School in 1947 and then from the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, now known as CCS.

Mr. Holland served in the Korean War, and after his return he attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art. While at Cranbrook, he taught privately at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Jewish Community Center.

Mr. Holland married Lois Sundberg, a union that lasted 50 years until her death in 2002.

He is survived by two brothers, Craig Holland and Arden Holland.

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