Jefferson Eugene Grigsby Jr., now retired and
still living in his Phoenix home / studio that he purchased in 1956,
served as an art department teacher at Phoenix Union High School from
1955 to 1966.
As a PUHS art teacher, he had his students maintain daily records
by having them do "daily compositions." These were from
homework quick studies: sketches of a scene observed, remembered, and drawn the next day for 10 minutes in pencil, ink, or watercolor. Often in the style of the artist researched
The paper size was 5 - 1/2 inches
by 8 - 1'2 inches. These
were then kept in a booklet form in the classroom throughout the class
In addition, Dr. Grigsby's art students kept a
daily "folder." The folder had entries from
“use of time,” “hours present”,
”initative,” “attitude,” “integrity,” and “plan for the week”
Also included in the list was "Hours Present,"
and "Manner & Appearance."
Students were to
enter a number scoring themselves from "poor, all the way to
excellent." A # 5 was poor and a # 1 was excellent. At the end of
each class, students filled out their scores as they believed they
merited. For the folders, sometimes, Dr. Grigsby
would change the
student's score after talking with the student. At times his score was higher than the student’s
These folders were kept in the classroom along with the
All in all, this daily recording of both
experience and classroom scores allowed each student to continually see
his or her progress as a classroom student, as well as an art student.
Jefferson Eugene Grigsby Jr., was born in
Greensboro, N.C., on 17 October 1918. He attended Johnson C. Smith
University in Charlotte, N.C., then Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.,
graduating with a degree in art in 1938. During this time, he studied
under the painter, Hale Woodruff.
From 1938 to 1939, he studied at the American
Artists School in New York, where he met prominent African American
artists including Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden.
Grigsby received a master's degree from Ohio
State University in
1940. In 1963, he received his doctorate in art education
from New York University. Grigsby served as head of
the art department at Phoenix Union High School from
1965 to 1966. From 1966 to 1988, he was professor of art at Arizona State University
in Tempe, Arizona.
Dr. Grigsby was Vice President, National Art Education
Association (NAEA); 1988 Dr. Grigsby was honored by the NAEA as Art Educator of the
in 2008, the year he retired.
In 1966, the Philadelphia College of Arts, now
the University of the Arts, conferred on Dr. Grigsby the degree, Doctor of Fine Arts
(honorary). In 1958, he was one of
six artists selected to represent the United States at the Brussels
Universal and International Exposition. In 1965 he was one of 25 art educator, artists & art historians to receive one of 25 awards recognizing the 25th anniversary of the National Art Gallery, presented by Lady Bird Johnson in the West Wing of the White House.
In 1943, Grigsby married Rosalyn
Thomasena Marshall, with whom he had two sons. Dr. Grigsby's current
involvement with art includes his ongoing support of the Consortium of Black Organizations
and Others for the Arts which he founded in 1983.
Dr. Grigsby has been invited and has accepted
being the Honorary Chairperson for this year's PUHS All Alumni Dinner
and Dance. There will be a sampling of the PUHS art student's
"Daily Composition Booklets" and "Daily Class
Folders" on display along with a few selections of his art work and
awards over the years as both an artist, and as an educator.