Kevin Dean, born in 1950 in Evanston, Ill., died May 14. He attended Elston High School in Michigan City, Ind.
Mr. Dean received an undergraduate degree in art and art education, and taught at public schools for four years to pay for his master's in studio art from Western Illinois University. He became a graduate assistant while attaining a master's degree in art history (specializing in the 20th century American to post World War II American art).
Mr. Dean took a job and ran Galesburg Civic Art Center for two years. Soon after, he started writing part-time for the Art Examiner and teaching art at Carl Sandburg Community College.
Mr. Dean’s history with Sarasota began in 1970 when he first visited his parents' local residence. He didn’t move here officially until 1979. In 1980, he founded the arts section of the Longboat Observer.
In addition to writing for the community paper, his voice was also prominent in Art Voices Magazine and Sarasota Arts Review. Nationally, he wrote for New Art Examiner. He modeled himself after writer Robert Hughes — critic for Time magazine.
In 1985, Mr. Dean started teaching studio and art history at Ringling College of Art and Design, and in 1994 he became the director of Selby Gallery, where he curated more than 250 exhibitions.
The last exhibit Mr. Dean curated was April’s “Rediscovering David Budd: The Forgotten Abstract Expressionist,” at The IceHouse. He last exhibited his work in January when he was featured in “All in the Family.” The exhibition, curated by his former student and colleague Tim Jaeger for the IceHouse, also featured the work of his children, Molly Dean and Ian Dean, by whom he is survived. He is also survived by his wife, Kay Kipling.
Mr. Dean was an art historian, critic, teacher and leader of the arts scene in Sarasota for 35 years.
Stay tuned to YourObserver.com for further updates. And be sure to pick up a copy of the May 22 issue of the Observer for the full story.
To share a favorite story of memory of Kevin Dean, please email A&E Editor Mallory Gnaegy at [email protected] with the subject “Kevin Dean memory.”