The Department of Art mourns the passing of Phyllis Straus. Phyllis served as Advisor to the Department of Art for almost 20 years. She was and is held in high regard by students, faculty, and staff for her valued wisdom and guidance throughout the years. Phyllis retired in December of 2007, at which point she was honored with the naming of the “Phyllis Straus Gallery” at the then BFA Warehouse in Railroad Square.
Phyllis Lindsey Straus was born on July 20, 1928. Throughout her life, Phyllis was passionate about social and political causes. In her late teens, she often participated in the Civil Rights movement in Richmond, Virginia. As an artist, she expressed her passion for animals and people through magnificent life-size sculptures of heated and hammered steel. The department fondly remembers her sculpture depicting a bronze giraffe, which was formerly exhibited in front of the Museum of Fine Arts. She was a largely self-taught artist who, in her 50’s, earned her Bachelor’s and Masters Degrees in Fine Arts.
Phyllis passed away on April 19th, 2013. She died in her home beside her beloved dog and companion, Solly. Her family reports that if she could have chosen her death, this would be the way that she would want. Phyllis is survived by her brother, three children, and four grandchildren. A private service was held for her on April 27th, 2013.
Phyllis retired from her role as faculty and art student advisor in December 2007. She was honored for her years of service in conjunction with a naming ceremony for the new “Phyllis Straus Gallery” at the BFA Warehouse, Railroad Square Art Park.