Teresa Rozewski

It has come to our attention that Associated Artists of Pittsburgh artist member, Teresa Rozewski, passed away in October 2018. Her obituary can be found below or by clicking on this link

A memorial is being planned for June 20th, 2019 at Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, PA 15232 in Shadyside at 11:00.

Teresa Fusca Rozewski: Sculptor whose creative work included holiday trees at Carnegie Art Museum

Oct. 31, 1931 -- Oct. 19, 2018

Teresa Fusca Rozewski expressed herself through her hands.

A gifted sculptor and artist, Ms. Rozewski — “Terri” to her friends — was a fixture in the Pittsburgh art scene for decades, perhaps most notably as one of the creators of the annual holiday tree display at the Carnegie Museum of Art, now in its 57th year.

“I think the most remarkable thing about Terri was her work on the Christmas trees at the Carnegie Museum,” said friend Jane Feuer, who moved into Ms. Rozewski’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 1994.

“Every year she made her own tree,” Ms. Feuer said. “She was the driving force behind that display for years.”

Ms. Rozewski, 86, died Friday at the Upper St. Clair assisted living home where she had lived the past several years.

The holiday tree display consists of five trees decorated by members of the museum’s women’s committee according to a theme selected each year.

“She was so creative,” recalled committee member Gail Murphy of Fox Chapel. “No matter what the theme was, Terri always was very creative and came up with a way to interpret the theme in a way that was engaging and easy for people to enjoy.”

Her most memorable design was probably “The Legend of the Unicorn,” which involved a papier-mache “unicorn” that she created out of a wire deer frame — the kind seen decorating lawns during the holiday season.

“It was a charming tree,” Ms. Murphy remembered.

Ms. Rozewski often planned her designs far ahead of time, Ms. Feuer said.

“I remember she would have all of us in the neighborhood cutting out [paper] snowflakes year-round,” she said, laughing at the memory. “It was such a big job.”

Ms. Feuer said she had many happy memories with her friend to cherish.

“I will miss her loving and warm presence in my life,” she said. “We had a lot of fun together. We’d sit on her back deck and smoke cigarettes — which we weren’t supposed to do — and just laugh.”

Ms. Rozewski grew up in the Perrysville neighborhood of Ross and earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1953 from what was then Carnegie Institute of Technology.

She wasn’t the only talented artist in the class.

“When she was a freshman, there was this little shy kid in the back of the room and his name was Andy Warhola,” said her son, Joe Rozewski, referring to Andy Warhol, who later shortened his surname. “She actually had a freshman drawing class with Andy Warhol.”

Ms. Rozewski went on to obtain a master’s degree in bronze sculpture from the school in 1965.

Though bronze casting was her favorite medium, Ms. Rozewski was also a talented painter and ceramic tile artist, said her son, who teaches high school art in Portland, Ore.

Her works were often inspired by nature, especially birds in flight and her beloved cats.

“She was a true naturalist and she loved nature in all of its forms,” Mr. Rozewski said. “She could do realism and really nice abstracts of nature.”

Ms. Rozewski spent most of her life as an art educator, first teaching at a school in Alabama before returning to Pittsburgh in the late 1950s. She taught briefly at the former Allegheny High School on the North Side, but spent the lion’s share of her career at Allderdice High School as a jewelry, metal crafts and fine arts teacher.

She also led the Pittsburgh Public Schools Visual Arts Department for seven years before her retirement in 1992, Mr. Rozewski said.

She met her future husband, artist and illustrator Michael Rozewski, at a party in Shadyside, her son said.

“They were beatnik sculptors who hung out together,” he said of his parents. “They just immediately connected.”

The couple married in 1962 and had two children when Ms. Rozewski’s sister, Carmela Fusca Sauer, died unexpectedly and their family suddenly doubled in size.

“She adopted her sister’s two children,” her son said.

Early in her career, Ms. Rozewski was featured in a Pittsburgh Press story as an artist-in-residence — a novel concept at the time — at the Art Bronze and Manufacturing Co. in Lawrenceville.

In return for the use of the foundry and a small studio space, she helped complete art projects for the company.

“I was fortunate to find people so receptive to the fine arts. Leonardo da Vinci had the Medicis, and I have Mr. O’Dowd,” she said about the owner, Thomas O’Dowd, in the October 1965 story.

Growing up as the child of two artists, Mr. Rozewski had a unique childhood.

“In our house, art was always greatly appreciated and promoted,” he said. “We had a big cabinet full of art supplies, we went to art camps and art class every Saturday morning at the Carnegie Museum. My mom went over and above for birthdays and Halloween. We had the best parties and the best costumes.”

Mr. Rozewski still has many of the small sculptures he made as a child.

“We’d sculpt with wax at home and then she’d take them back to the foundry, where she would cast them in bronze,” he said.

Ms. Rozewski was a member of Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and the Society of Sculptors. She exhibited at galleries and festivals all over the city, including the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and taught classes at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside.

In 2002, Mr. Rozewski helped his mother make a bronze cast called “Cremation Urn for Mae Bell,” using a traditional African vessel to hold cremains. The piece was commissioned by a gardener who was honoring his mother because she always wanted to be part of an art exhibition.

Now, Mr. Rozewski is working on an urn for his mother, which he will make with ceramics.

When he’s forming the clay with his hands, he’ll be thinking about his mother’s sage wisdom and all she taught him.

“She had great advice and she was usually correct,” he said. “She had a really good wisdom about people. She had a good sense of what you worry about and what you should let go. She just really taught me how to be a decent human being.”

In addition to her husband and son, Ms. Rozewski is survived by two other sons, Emil Sauer of Chicago and Edward Sauer of St. Johns, Ariz.; a daughter, Maria Harrington of Orlando, Fla.; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

No funeral will be held. A memorial is being planned for June 20th 2019 at 11:00am. See information below.

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Jamie Earnest