Reed, Rowena (1900–1988)

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Reed, Rowena (1900–1988)

American sculptor and design educator. Name variations: Rowena Kostellow. Born on July 6, 1900; died in September 1988 in New York City; graduated from the University of Missouri in Kansas City; studied sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute; studied with sculptor Alexander Archipenko, and with Josef Hoffmann; attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology; married Alexander Kostellow.

While studying journalism at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Rowena Reed developed an interest in art. After graduation, she pursued the study of sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute and there met teaching assistant Alexander Kostellow, whom she would later marry. She studied under sculptor Alexander Archipenko and with Josef Hoffmann, then went on to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (later renamed Carnegie-Mellon University), where Kostellow was creating the first American industrial design curriculum.

In 1938, Reed joined Kostellow at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and in 1962 she became industrial design chair there. She retired from that position in 1966, but continued teaching until 1987. An important influence on her students and Pratt's industrial design curriculum, Reed strongly emphasized the artistic and aesthetic components of design. Continuing always to work as a sculptor, she believed that in the teaching of design, function was important, but engineering principles should never eclipse artistic value.

Jacquie Maurice , freelance writer, Calgary, Alberta, Canada