Published: July 10, 2007
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) here mourns the passing of its founder and chairman, Silas H. Rhodes, who died in his sleep on June 28, at age 91.
Rhodes co-founded the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in 1947, renaming it the School of Visual Arts in 1956. His vision for the college helped define art education in America. He was also among the first to recognize that design could help colleges and universities tell their stories, launching a poster campaign that continues to appear in the New York City subway system.
The Cartoonists and Illustrators School was founded by Rhodes and illustrator Burne Hogarth. It began with a faculty of three and a student body of 35 returning World War II veterans. In 1956, Rhodes renamed it the School of Visual Arts, reflecting a belief that there is more to art than technique and that learning to become an artist is not the same as learning a trade.
Rhodes was the first president of the college, serving from 1972 to 1978. During his term as president, SVA became the largest independent college of art and design in the country. In September 1978, Rhodes became chairman of the board.
Born in the Bronx on September 15, 1915, Rhodes received a BS from Long Island University and a MA and PhD from Columbia University. He served in WWII as a volunteer member of the 1st Air Commando Group and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster and Bronze Star.
He is survived by his sons, SVA President David A. Rhodes; SVA Executive Vice President Anthony P. Rhodes; Steven Rhodes, DVM; and their families.
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