IES Abroad Vienna Alumnus Exhibits a Career of Art & Inspiration

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Ashley Houston
April 18, 2016

vienna, austriaAs an Art student at UCLA, IES Abroad alumnus Steve Lotz spent his sophomore year (1958-59) in Vienna, Austria. It was in Vienna that he found himself inspired by one of IES Abroad’s three co-founders, Clarence Giese, who was also an accomplished artist. With Clarence’s encouragement, Steve returned from Vienna to complete his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts at UCLA and went on to receive his Master’s in Fine Arts from the University of Florida, where he met and married his wife, Gretchen, of the past 52 years.

After teaching for a year in Jacksonville, Florida, Steve and Gretchen applied to join the U.S. Peace Corps and were accepted to work in an African village. Soon after, they discovered Gretchen was pregnant with their first child. Deciding that it was too risky to be in a village environment for the birth, they decided to spend a year in Vienna.

Steve fondly recalls returning: “Arriving in Vienna and looking for a living space put us back in contact with the Neuemarkt facility and with Clarence. He and his wife, Alberta, were, again, of great support. They found us an obstetrician and were, psychologically for us, the elder-wise supporters we needed. Our son, Theo, was born in Vienna.”

After a year in Vienna, the young family returned to Florida where Steve began teaching at Jacksonville University. After two years, he joined the charter faculty of the University of Central Florida (UCF) as the first chair of its Art department.

After 30 years at UCF, Steve is now a retired professor emeritus and currently has a large exhibition of his work on show at the Orlando Museum of Art. The exhibition, “The Sources: Paintings and Drawings by Steve Lotz” runs from March 12- June 5, 2016. Half retrospective and half current works, the exhibit showcases the distinctive paintings, drawings, and symbolic and archetypal forms that reflect his philosophical outlook linked to universal themes–a career spanning decades that has at its roots inspiration and encouragement from his time in Vienna, Austria. 

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Ashley Houston

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