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Ernie Kim

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Ernie Kim

American, (1918–1997)

Born in Manteca, California in 1918, Kim’s initial aspirations were far removed from those of an artist when he enrolled in dentistry at Los Angeles City College where he studied from 1940-1942. When the United States entered World War II, Kim served as an Army parachute lieutenant based in Europe from 1942 until 1947. Kim required occupational therapy once he returned, due to injuries sustained in combat, and took ceramics classes through the Veterans Administration which set him on an entirely new course of study. He became a ceramics instructor in 1952 for the Palo Alto Unified School District, and later became head of the Ceramics Department at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. In 1962, he took a teaching position at the Richmond Art Center where he remained, in a variety of roles, until he retired in 1982. Due to the extreme isolation Kim endured as a prisoner of war, he committed his life to community pursuits and, upon his death in 1997, the Richmond Art Center created the Ernie Kim Award to honor his contributions to craft media.

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