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Dear Colleagues and Friends,
With profound sadness, we share with you the news that James Stanley Catterall has passed away. He was at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center surrounded by his wife Rebecca and all of his children. He had the best care and strong advocacy from his family, after suffering a heart attack and massive stroke compounded by multiple complications. He passed at 4pm on Wednesday, August 23.
The loss of our beloved colleague and friend leaves us shocked. James channeled his wonder about the world through his work, bestowing many gifts to innumerable people over the course of four decades. His thinking, writing, profound kindness, and willingness to walk into the unknown, asking questions and curious about the answers, shaped many of our own perceptions and approaches, not only to research, but to life.
In the coming weeks, we will continue our work on current projects and put together the pieces that we need to carry on his legacy. For now, we mourn the man. Rest in peace, James.
In lieu of flowers, the family has designated Inner-City Arts for contributions in honor of James:
Mail: Inner-City Arts
702 Kohler Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Or call: Gretchen Reyes, Development Associate, 213-627-9621, ext. 111, to make a donation.
Marcia McCaffrey, NH Dept. of Education & SEADAE
8/25/2017 01:51:01 pm
Words are too small. Dr. Catterall's life force much too big to be compressed into lines, dots and curves. This is where art comes in with all its glory and grandness, thoughfulness and expressiveness. Like James.
8/26/2017 06:06:43 pm
I am shocked and saddened to hear of James' death. I know he leaves an extraordinary legacy of his intellectual work but more importantly his family to whom I offer most sincere condolences. With love and deep sadness, Carol
8/26/2017 08:44:24 pm
Amazing man - what a legacy. Feel so lucky to have had the chance to meet the man whose research taught me so much.
8/28/2017 03:28:51 pm
In the short time I had the pleasure of knowing James and being in his company, I felt his gentle spirit and quest for compassion. I look forward to helping to honor his legacy in any way I can. Such a loss for both the education and arts communities, especially... Rest in peace.
8/30/2017 09:29:24 am
I am reminded of the enormous impact that Dr. Catterall has had on increasing arts education school budgets and policies across every state and city in the country with his longitudinal research on creativity and arts education on children. On the federal level, I can also tell you firsthand as a lobbyist of 25 years that I have delivered Dr. Catterall’s research results to every Member of Congress to make the case for additional arts education resources both in schools through the U.S. Department of Education and in nonprofit arts organizations through the National Endowment for the Arts. His research was able to persuasively associate links between a robust arts education having a high impact among disadvantaged students from low socio-economic backgrounds and yet these students had the least access to arts programs. It ultimately led then-U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2012, to state in a speech: “And unfortunately, the arts opportunity gap is widest for children in high-poverty schools. This is absolutely an equity issue and a civil rights issue.”
8/31/2017 02:19:06 pm
Our field has lost a giant. James did more than anyone to advance our understanding of the importance of the arts in supporting student development and success. He was a wonderful friend and colleague who taught me much about what I know of research and evaluation for arts education. We will miss him very much.
9/1/2017 03:44:16 am
9/1/2017 06:51:32 am
The work I did with James influenced so much of how I think about quality education. I continue to pass along the creative, holistic commitments for student learning that James' work documented so beautifully. The field will reverberate with his vision for decades.
Tarcio Vinicio Lara
9/1/2017 04:27:27 pm
Dr. Catterall, I am deeply saddened by your passing. I met you once in person, but have read your work for many years. Your work in the Arts have inspired many educators to promulgate the importance of the Arts in public schools. Thank you Dr. Catterall, we will continue your work...
9/4/2017 08:19:59 am
I still remember vividly receiving the call from James in 2002, where he interviewed me about joining his research team at UCLA. The Ford Foundation had recently funded James to investigate how high-quality arts education fundamentally changed the worldviews of inner-city youth. I remember the clarity and passion that James had for this work, which was immediately evident as he discussed the possibilities for the research. I knew it was going to be a great project, and I was excited to join his research team but I couldn't have expected at the time that I was going to have a lifelong friendship with his family and the wonderful people at Inner-City Arts.
10/31/2017 11:43:07 am
Kylie, we enjoyed spending time with you and your growing family. Thank you for coming to the memorial and honoring James. He is missed. Keep in touch.
10/31/2017 11:43:33 am
Kylie, we enjoyed spending time with you and your growing family. Thank you for coming to the memorial and honoring James. He is missed. Keep in touch.
9/6/2017 06:11:40 am
James was one of the first people to introduce me to the challenges and joys of arts education research. Several decades ago, he led pioneer initiatives to bring evidence- based practice into the minds of teachers, policy makers and other academics. And just last year, he led us once again to take the next steps in special education and arts education research with the Kennedy Center. I will always be grateful for his curiosity, drive, and leadership. The field is different because of him.
9/6/2017 06:57:12 am
Dr.Catterwell set a new and very high standard for research regarding the impact of arts education on children and youth. His publications and his presentations informed stakeholders regarding what we know and what we need to know in an accessible style for all to understand. He will be greatly missed.
9/6/2017 10:13:48 am
So many of us "know" the profound impact of the arts, especially on young people. He codified this with his research, which in turn helped others understand (principally funding sources) the power and capacity of the arts to change lives. His work and leadership in the field was key in efforts to keep arts in our schools and communities, despite others not valuing them or considered them expendable. He helped people understand the arts’ significance – documenting how beyond the immediate skills or information being shared/learned, they have the capacity to offer hope to our youth. His work reminds us that the arts, particularly for those facing daunting circumstances, can support a creative vision of a future of endless possibilities. We are indebted to him. He will be missed.
9/6/2017 10:38:19 am
James impacted thousands of human beings, including myself, with an inordinate and rare capacity to remain ever-curious, always find the humor, and to love--without fear.
9/6/2017 02:41:26 pm
Please accept my condolences on behalf of my colleague, James Catterall. I did not know him well, but in our professional exchanges during the course of my relocation from San Francisco to Los Angeles, he was extremely generous and welcoming - offering the possibility of working with his ground-breaking center for research in creativity. He has raised the bar high, and the work he established will no doubt continue due to the knowledge he shared with so many and his inspiration.
Leslie Teske Mills
9/6/2017 05:18:25 pm
James Catterall was kind and supportive throughout my time at UCLA. First person I met to start my journey with a Cohort 4. Godspeed.
9/6/2017 06:52:57 pm
We were fortunate to have Dr. Catterall was a keynote speaker at our first Kentucky Coalition for Arts Education Summit in 2016. His research into arts education has helped many codify the value of student learning in the arts - learning that we "know" is essential, that we see every day in our classrooms, rehearsals and studios. His research on arts education has been pivotal in our field, giving structure and meaning to what we experience among our students. He will be missed. Our condolences to his family and friends.
9/6/2017 07:30:03 pm
Dr. Catterall has really helped so many people understand the power of the arts to transform youth, especially those who are from economically-disadvantaged communities. But more importantly, he was really a terrific man. Even though Dr. Catteral was such an iconic researcher, he was very humble, and always made us feel that our ideas were just as important as his own. His intelligence, instincts, laughter, as well as his quick wit are going to be really missed by all of us who were able to work with him. On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, and students of The Wooden Floor, I send condolences to his family, Kim and his fellow colleagues at CROC and many friends beyond.
Noelle Adames, London, Worked on the Royal Blind School Project
9/7/2017 01:57:51 am
It was a shock to hear that James had died. I send my thoughts to his family, friends, and community. I know that he inspired and influenced many with his visions, and I am grateful to have joined in on the stream of exploring creativity and learning. I know he is greatly missed.
9/7/2017 01:34:25 pm
I met him only once ... and it was a wonderful experience. My condolences to all his family and friends. May he rest in peace.
9/9/2017 01:14:03 pm
My heart reaches out to you, Rebecca and family. I am so sorry for your tragic loss. How proud you must be of James' accomplishments and devotion to his work and to you. Life really is just too short. Bless you all.
9/12/2017 08:11:53 pm
I was so sorry to hear of Jame's passing and my deepest condolences to you all. The panta rhea foundation supported his work with the Centers on Research on Creativity and his partnerships with schools and teachers and artists working to enliven and infuse and transform teaching with creativity . I will always remember his commitment for instilling what he called "small c creativity" I am so sorry for your loss and my deepest sympathy - diana
9/18/2017 04:55:00 pm
Remembering an extraordinary spirit and man, a wit, a wonder and full of wonder. Doing good and doing well by doing art --- and telling others about it. His work helped all of us to share music, art, theater, dance. A beautiful soul. We will all miss him.
9/19/2017 05:14:38 pm
The tribute to James was deeply moving at the Theatricum Botanicum -- a perfect venue for a man so passionate about the Arts. People told stories, but not surprisingly, there wasn't enough time for all of them.
9/25/2017 05:18:33 pm
Thank you Camille. James was very proud of the study he did for Inside Out Community Arts.
10/3/2017 09:55:12 pm
I have taken a while to understand how to even be able to see myself in a world where me beloved mentor is not here anymore, I'm so so so so at a loss for words. Professor Catterall was one of only a handful of mentors who could truly saw me, I had so many wonderful and amazing times with him, in Topanga, in Encino, Westwood ... Professor Catterall you gave me guidance, you were there as a compass, your wit and extremely insightful words will stay with me, you encouraged and took part in my projects, you told me the truth, you always were sincere and above all you were kind, I think of all you have given me and I just can't bear a world where you are not in it. Big hugs, I'll always remember you, Sara
10/17/2017 10:31:14 am
Rest in peace dear friend and colleague. Your beautiful work opened doors to new horizons and a deeper understanding of this unique gift we all have - to see the world in utterly unique ways and act upon it with creativity, compassion, and positive effect. You have moved the wheel so far along, and for that I am forever grateful. Safe passing, you are missed.
10/17/2017 07:20:47 pm
A colleague and friend, I am still coming to grips with the sudden passing of James Catterall. I speak of him still in the present tense, not the past. Indeed, James illuminated a path we will continue to walk as we deepen our understanding of imagination, creativity and innovation - indeed how we understand the very essence of our invention of ourselves as human beings. I will miss his wonderings and his insights just as I value his incredible contributions in art education. We will press on to honor his spirit.
10/20/2017 11:15:32 am
I have come to the news late, Rebecca, and I am sorry I haven't written sooner. There aren't any words to capture how I feel. You know he helped so many of us and I, who was one, learned so much. I was beyond proud that James "hooded" me on the stage when I received my degree and later, when he asked me to work with him, collecting data and doing evaluations. What I am trying to say is that I am an average person who, because of his mentoring and generosity, accomplished more that I ever dreamed I could. Know that I will hold you in my heart, now, and beyond the tomorrows that you must get through. Continue to grow yourself and the artist that you are. I will not forget you and the sorrow you bear. Jeanne (Dreyfus)
10/31/2017 11:34:30 am
Jeanne, it is so nice to hear from you after all these years. We are still working with TreePeople on the GE project. Fond memories of working with you on it. Would love to catch up in person.
10/21/2017 05:43:13 am
"Work was his playground" -- such a fitting description for a man who was both inquisitive and playful. Your work lives on, as do memories of you. James, you will be missed.
11/1/2017 12:42:15 pm
I was fortunate to work with James on a number of arts related projects. His first book cover, his second book and numerous pieces of art that he collected from me over the years. So interesting that his projects always came at a time when I didn't know where my next dime was coming from. It's almost like he knew I needed the work right then and there...gonna miss working with him.
11/2/2017 12:20:25 am
Someone profoundly intelligent once asked me, “what are you pretending not to know?” I am pretending not to know that I will never see Dr James Catterall again. It does seem as if the stars have lost their brightest light. I remember reading his research as a reverant UCLA student, and then feeling elated to have eventually met him. I loved meeting him for breakfast, running into him at conferences, he was childlike in his enthusiasm, exuberant about his work, he was like helium, uplifting and supportive. Once I presented to the California State Board of Education with him, I was nervous and worried, until Michael Kirst, the chairman, regaled the room with stories about their days at Stanford and gave us double the time we were assigned. James was a rock star in our field. He once said to Frank Gehry and I, that the E in STEM was misunderstood, that “engineering” was simply “applied math”, and that the A in STEAM should be considered “applied creativity”. Watching his mind work was dazzling to me. In Italian there is a phrase I like, “NON POSSO DIMENTICARE” and it means “it is not possible to forget”. Dr James Catterall will always be impossible to forget, he changed the field of arts education forever. I am deeply grateful to have known him.
Dr. Calvin Walton
2/17/2018 04:48:11 am
I offer my deepest condolences to Professor Caterall's family, friends, and colleagues. I did not realize he had passed away. Dr. Caterall has been an inspiration for me. His research on arts education and academic achievement for students from disadvantaged backgrounds has informed my current research on arts education and African American males' academic achievement. My goal is to contribute to the body of scholarship he helped establish. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.
3/3/2018 06:04:10 pm
I am so saddened to learn of James’ passing. He was a wonderful colleague and such a warm and bright spirit. I will never forget the day I approached him in 2013 at the VSA/Kennedy Center conference with my book proposal, with a request to write the closing chapter. He generously talked with me about my work, his work, and baseball! He was entirely supportive and engaging throughout our work together. I am very grateful for his contributions to my learning and to our world. My thoughts and prayers are with James and his family and friends.
7/24/2018 11:36:57 am
I just learned of this sad news after visiting the UCLA website and seeing a link to Jim's obituary. I was a student in GSE years ago (late '80s/early '90s), but remember Jim as one of my favorite professors. Most of all, though, I remember his love of music and making violins. I once visited his workshop and was amazing by the artistry. My mom is a professional violinist and aunt a concert violinist, so my appreciation for his work was deep. My condolences to the family.
2/25/2021 08:33:46 pm
I am just now learning of James's passing. He had such a kind and generous spirit and a passion for doing his work at the highest level. What a loss for the arts education community.
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