Little Things: Drawings and Photographs by Fred Packard
(Courtesy: Daily Advertiser)
A Louisiana native, Fred Packard is a visual artist, filmmaker, and a seminal figure within the Department of Visual Arts here at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Packard’s professional life was defined by place, including his home state of Louisiana and experiences abroad. He served in the United States Army in France from 1956 to 1957 before earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Louisiana State University in 1958. He then earned a Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University in 1961. After graduate school, he ran United States Army photo labs in Germany as a civilian between 1962 and 1964. Packard was a faculty member at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now University of Louisiana at Lafayette from 1966 to 1996, with the exception of 1969 when he served as Assistant Professor at Hiram College of Ohio. Upon his return to Lafayette in 1970, he was named department head, a role he filled until 1974. During that time, he founded the photography concentration in the Department of Applied Arts, now the Department of Visual Arts.
Packard’s 1989 artist’s statement reads, “My art is deep-rooted in nature, and much of it springs from my childhood in the country. Lately, I have dealt with the rhythms I find in nature, its forms, harmonies and chaos, symmetry and asymmetry. Photography is the medium I am currently using to discover and to explore these possibilities.” These words are significant in terms of understanding Packard as an educator because his stated goal over his thirty-year career was to teach his students to see deeply rather than looking superficially. Packard’s love of places and observation is rooted in Louisiana, and it is plain to see that he applied his pedagogy to his personal work as an artist regardless of whether he was in Louisiana or on one of his many trips to Mexico or Europe
The many venues to have exhibited Fred Packard’s work include the Akron Art Museum; Amerika Haus in Munich Germany; Contemporary Art Center New Orleans; New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts; and Louisiane Bien-Aimée, Maison de Radio France, Paris, France. His films were screened regularly on Louisiana Public Television, and some were seen across North America at Le Délégation de Québec, and Folkorama, Winnepeg, as well as The Smithsonian Institution and United States Department of the Interior, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Notably, Packard was also a founding member of the Baton Rouge Gallery.