As a kid, Stephen “Dick” Goody was always drawing people. He didn’t start with their faces though, he drew from the ground up.
“I remember my father said he was very worried about me because when I’d draw people I’d always start with their shoes and then work my way up, which is weird,” Goody laughed.
Goody doesn’t draw people from their shoes up anymore but that love of art has stuck with him, leading to his current positions at Oakland University, all three of them. Yes, three. Goody is a Professor of Art; Chair, Department of Art & Art History; and director of the Oakland University Art Gallery.
He began his career at OU in 1994, after teaching at Wayne State University and Henry Ford Community College. After having started as a professor, he’s been taking on more administrative responsibilities for years at OU. Luckily, the three jobs he currently has influence each other.
“One of the main things that we’re interested in right now at Oakland is community engagement,” he said.
The exhibitions Goody – who has been curating exhibitions at OU since the ‘90s – is curating at the gallery are playing a vital role in that mission. He’s committed to the idea of using community outreach.
Goody said with each exhibition there are outcomes he constantly wants to attain, like is it addressing new issues? Is everything sustainable? Is this helping move them forward?
But how does he measure that? For him, it’s often in terms of what sort of reviews they get, both nationally and locally. Goody said they get people from all over the region at their exhibitions, with their openings sometimes having hundreds.
“It’s a real celebration and really about engagement, trying to get people and art together so that they can enjoy it but also learn something from the experience,” Goody said.
Or do a double-take. The exhibitions that make people scratch their heads – such as one that had human-sized sculptures (they were all at least 6 feet tall) made out of things like sand and recycled products – are the ones Goody finds interest him the most.
Currently, he’s working on an exhibit with 27 people, all fellow OU art professors. There’s also an upcoming exhibit being curated by students where they will select pieces from the university’s art collection. There will be plenty for them to pick from. Goody said the collection has over 1,500 pieces in it.
As much as Goody – who spent a year designing kitchens in London before deciding to complete his MFA – enjoys curating, he also loves teaching. Now that he’s in more of an administrative position at the university, he only teaches a few classes a year, but he still gets excited entering a classroom.
“I can just walk in there and feel the excitement immediately of teaching a class of people that are determined and interested in the same things as I am,” Goody said.
Even though Goody, who is originally from London and now lives in Detroit, which he called “one of the greatest cities on Earth,” has done just about all there is to do in the art department at OU he doesn’t have plans to leave anytime soon.
“I hope to stay for a good, long time,” he said. “It’s my home and I like it. I think I’ve got more to do.”
Photo: Laurie Tennent