A New Future

_MG_9544In January, newly commissioned Second Lieutenant John David Howard Jr. (‘13) will report to military duty at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, fulfilling a lifelong dream to follow in the footsteps of his late father, who served 22 years in the Army before he retired from active duty. “I am looking forward to starting my career as an officer in the Army,” Howard said. “This has been my life’s goal — to serve my country.”

The new alumnus is also an accomplished artist. Just days after graduating from Georgia Southern with a B.A. degree in studio art, Howard traveled to Iowa to install his 400-pound sculpture called “Horse” in the 18th Ames Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition. He is among the five artists the city of Ames selected to showcase their artwork in a yearlong exhibition. Howard, who received a $1,000 honorarium said, “A sculpture like this requires a lot of space and since shows like this are hard to come by, I was shocked when the city selected my entry.” His eight foot tall wooden sculpture is situated directly across from City Hall.

This is not the first time the young artist’s work has been on display. The Hinesville, Ga., resident spent weeks constructing a huge steel skeletal structure of a bald eagle as part of a very ambitious and complex art project required for art graduates. The large-scale sculpture integrated with technology was displayed in the Undergraduate Studio Art Student Exhibition this past spring in a Center for Art and Theatre gallery. The eagle, approximately 10 feet from head to toe, with a wingspan of at least 14 feet, was incorporated with light, and the cries and calls of Georgia Southern bald eagles, Freedom and Glory, to make it an interactive experience for the public.

“I wanted to pay homage to the University, and fortunately it worked as planned,” he said. “I think people were impressed by the size and the functionality of the piece.” Howard’s artistic abilities helped him win a Betty Foy Sanders Art Scholarship while he attended Georgia Southern, and he said the scholarship and acknowledgment from others reaffirmed his love for art. “Knowing that I am going on active duty, I think it will be difficult to balance my love of art. But, I will never abandon it,” he said. “Being at Georgia Southern was hectic, but I loved the Department of Art and the ROTC.”

For now Howard’s career as an artist will be on the backburner. He is committed to the U.S. Army for the next seven years in the combat engineering field. – Sandra Bennett

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