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Hyleck, Walter: Home

Written by Alivia West, '23

Walter Hyleck

Early Life and Education
Walter “Wally” Hyleck was born in 1942 in Beloit, Wisconsin, but grew up in Minnesota. He studied art and art history as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota and attended graduate school at Tulane University.

Early Interest in Ceramics
Hyleck pinpoints his interest in ceramics as beginning when he was in high school, but says he was truly inspired to begin pursuing the art form by Glen C. Nelson, head of ceramics at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He explored a few other artistic interests, including architecture, painting, and printmaking before deciding on ceramics because of the calm nature of Professor Nelson and those he worked with. 


Career in Education

Hyleck became a professor of ceramics at Berea College in 1967. In 1984, he became the Morris B. Belknap Chair of Fine Arts at Berea. He was also an active National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) member. He retired from teaching at Berea College in 2008. He was, and still continues to be, an influential part in the history of the arts and crafts at Berea.

Ceramics Apprenticeship Program

In 1970, Hyleck founded the Berea College Ceramic Apprenticeship Program. The program was designed to revitalize Berea’s craft image, train students in all aspects of ceramics, and produce a line of functional pottery to be marketed and sold through Berea College’s Student Craft Industries. It also served to introduce numerous students to the artistic value and opportunities of ceramics both as artistic expression and as a possible career. The designs are developed by the current program director and resident potter who assign them for production to the apprentices at their varying stages of ability. The Berea College Ceramic Apprenticeship Program continues to teach students and produce pottery for Student Craft Industries to this day.


Notable Exhibitions 

Walter Hyleck has participated in over 250 exhibitions. He has shown work at the Smithsonian Institute in DC, The Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, and more. The following is a short list of Hyleck’s selected exhibitions.

  • Wichita National Crafts Exhibition, 1966; Wichita Art Center, Wichita, KS
  • Young Americans, 1969; Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY
  • Exhibition 280, 1974; Huntington Art Gallery, Huntington, WV
  • Southeast Crafts Invitational 1974; Greenville County Museum, Greenville, SC
  • The Harmonious Craft, 1978; Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
  • Objects of Play, 1978; Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
  • Architectural Ceramics, 1980; Dimock Gallery, George Washington University, Washington, DC
  • Function in Clay: New Works, 1983 NCECA Exhibition; Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
  • Southeastern Ceramics, Fourteen Potters, 1983; Virginia Tech., Blacksburg, VA
  • Ceramics/Sculpture Invitational 1986; Krannert Gallery, University of Evansville, Evansville, IN
  • Focus on Form, 1987-88; Los Angeles Museum of Craft and Folk Art, and Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
  • Form and Function II: National Teapot Exhibition, 1990; Craft Alliance Gallery, St. Louis, MO
  • Slusser Gallery, Dept of Art and Architecture, 1990, University of Michigan; Ann Arbor, MI
  • South Carolina/Kentucky Exchange Exhibit: 1992; South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, SC
  • Functional Ceramics 1993: a Retrospective; Wayne Center for the Arts, Wooster, OH
  • Teapot: The Concept and Approach, 1993; Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN
  • Winter Show, 1993; Pewabic Pottery, Detroit, MI
  • Survey of Southeastern Ceramics, 1994; Moody Gallery of Art, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Hyleck also has permanent collections at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA; The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC; and the University of Indianapolis.

Additional Resources

  • BCA 0167/SAA 169, Box 41 - Warren Brunner Photography Collection, Berea College and Community, Berea College Archives
  • BCA 0167/SAA 169, Box 82 - Warren Brunner Photography Collection, Kentucky Craft Guild, Berea College Archives
  • Hyleck, Walter, "The Ceramics Apprenticeship Program," The Berea Alumnus
  • Photo Archives, Box 101 - Faculty and Staff, Sub-Series 9, Berea College Archives
  • RG 9.00, Box 39 - Faculty and Staff, Hunter-Johns, Berea College Archives

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