Helen Stadelbauer was instrumental in shaping the University of Calgary Art Department. A strong believer in housing developmental art, studio art and art history under one department, She was a founding member of the art department and a staunch supporter throughout her life.
Today, Helen’s legacy remains. Upon her death in 2006, a bequest was left to the University of Calgary to support scholarships in developmental art, studio art and art history.
Helen Stadelbauer was born into a middle-class Calgary family in 1910 and enrolled in teacher training at the Calgary Normal School in 1931. By 1944, she was a teacher there and when the school was incorporated into the University of Alberta, Calgary branch in 1945, she became one of the first members of the faculty of Education.
In 1963, Helen helped Fine Arts become an independent department at the Calgary campus, incorporating music, art and eventually drama under one title. She quickly found herself acting as head of the new faculty and the art department.
Helen was very involved in the move to grant the university full autonomy from the U of A and was pleased when in 1966 the University of Calgary was established as a separate institution. She served as a one-person art department, later becoming its chief administrative officer and also taught until her retirement in 1989.
“It was Helen’s unique vision that studio art, art history and developmental art be housed together,” says Art Department Head Arthur Nishimura. “We are truly grateful for the legacy that she has left.”