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Cherl self portrait 2 with 1906 view camera - press camera - 5x7 at Brevard. Ernst Foster


 Cherl T. Harrison is an art educator, artist, and photographer.   The photo above is Self Portrait, 1980s.

The old camera (dated 1906) was donated to Brevard College by Ernest Foster's wife.

After a repair to the curtain shutter, the camera worked well but was rarely used.

Harrison studied at Ringling School of Art and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Some of her instructors were Bruce Gregory (figure drawing), Jane Burton (printmaking), Andy Martin (painting) and Joan Gregory (Art Education).

Her introduction to photography had started at age 10 by learning darkroom processes from her cousin, Don Bennett.

In 1970 she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis on drawing, painting and art education.

From 1970-1972 she taught art at North Stokes High School in Danbury, NC.  

In 1972 she began course work for a masters degree which she earned in1974.

For the following two years she took post-graduate courses, mostly in art history, at UNCG until spring 1976,

 In the fall of 1976, she began teaching at Brevard College in Brevard, NC.    

She taught drawing, design, photography and art appreciation. 

 During her decade at Brevard College, she benefited from working with Tim Murray who had founded the art department in the late1950s with an emphasis on abstract expressionism and contemporary art. 

The mountains of Brevard and the close-knit community of students were  influences on her figure drawing and photography.

Figure drawing had fascinated Harrison since her freshman year at Ringling School of Art  for reasons that became clear decades later.

The complexity of human anatomy seemed to evoke metaphors about the  human spirit.  

Those messages were feelings and not words.

 In the 1990s. her interest in figure drawing became a series of imaginary skeletons..

 In 1986 she was given a sabbatical to work on a doctorate at UNCG.

 During that time, she studied with Arnold Doren (a photographer influenced by Minor White) and with David Purple who encouraged a dissertation about people rather than a formal study of technique or media. She decided to write about youth culture.

 High Point University offered a job that allowed Harrison to  assist her family and continue with the doctorate program.

She served as an Associate Professor of Art at High Point University (High Point, NC) beginning in the fall of 1987.

 In 1990 she completed her doctoral dissertation, Punk, Art and Education, which compared youth culture to the larger culture using text with black and white photography. Candice Langston and Brooks Lockey were two students who provided essential information on punk culture.


For a decade (1988-1998) she chaired the Department of Fine Arts at High Point University. The department was successful due to the outstanding faculty members who led the divisions of Theatre and Music (Ron Law and Alexa Jackson Schlimmer).  

From 1998 until her retirement in 2018 she continued to teach at High Point University. Beginning in the 1970s, she regularly exhibited art works in regional and national venues.  She was a member of  College Art Association and National Art Education Association. In 2022, she remains a member of the Society of Photographic Education. 

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