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Scott ’03 creates new works for Huff Athletic Center

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – The pull of art was just too strong for Dusty Scott to ignore.

About a decade ago, the 2003 Monmouth College graduate committed his focus to art after switching from a career in physical fitness. Now his most recent projects hang in the College’s Huff Athletic Center.

One project, which hangs at the north end of the main concourse, is a large aerial painting of campus, with Wallace Hall front and center – the spot where Scott and his wife, 2004 graduate Autumn McGee Scott, were married.

The other is a pair of paintings of Pipe Band members that hang separately at the south entrance. Each features half of the Monmouth crest, so the works could also be joined to form one large painting.

The works were unveiled Feb. 21 in front a crowd of two dozen people, which included Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt and his wife, First Lady Lobie Stone, who had the idea to commission the work.

“The goal was to add more of a spirit to the Huff Center when you walk in,” said Scott. “I think the Monmouth Fighting Scots and bagpipers will always be something that resonates on campus. My wife and I had bagpipers at our wedding. Wherever I’m at, and I hear bagpipers, it immediately links me back to Monmouth College. That march of the drum and the bagpipers sends chills through me, and I wanted to give that feeling through these paintings – so even just by seeing it, you could hear it.”

The aerial view features campus buildings with the words “Monmouth College” in a blue sky with white clouds.

“I got that idea from the beginning of The Simpsons, the way ‘The Simpsons’ comes through the clouds,” said Scott. “Even if in the future this becomes an old vision of what campus used to look like, there will be people who are nostalgic about how it looked when they were here.”

Art helped get Scott through the doors at Monmouth in 1999. He learned about an art scholarship the College offered and worked with his art teacher at Galesburg (Ill.) High School, Chris Dokolasa, to put his portfolio together. After interviewing with “W” – former Monmouth art professor George Waltershausen – he won the scholarship.

At Monmouth, Scott was primarily a welding sculptor, taking only two painting classes. So his painting style that has evolved – combining acrylics, airbrushing and spray paint – is unique.

“I didn’t learn that combination from anybody – I really taught myself,” he said. “I like the control that I have with the acrylic, but I also like the randomness and the feel of an airbrush and the spray paint. Meshing those two worlds has been paying off. ... The opportunity to do what you love is such a huge rush. There’s a huge satisfaction when the vision in your head comes out onto the canvas.”

In addition to art, Scott earned a degree in physical education, which he used to get his start professionally. After earning a master’s degree in exercise science, he worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for five years.

“But I really missed working with my hands,” he said. “My experience at Monmouth led me to believe I had something to say and do with art.”

Through the support of family, friends, his wife and social media, Scott said his commitment “just grew and grew. That kind of encouragement and support has led me to doing bigger and bigger projects.”

Included among those friends are Scott’s art professors at Monmouth, particularly Stacy Lotz and Cheryl Meeker.

“In the art world, you can run into some very harsh critics at times, and it can be very discouraging,” said Scott. “But knowing that you have someone in your corner like Stacy and Cheryl telling you to keep going really helps.”

Both of them were present for the unveiling ceremony.

“My need to want to create all started here at Monmouth,” said Scott. “It’s a desire inside of me that I can’t tone down. If I’m not painting, I’m sketching and drawing out ideas. I’m not just in love with the summit – I’m in love with the climb. A lot of times people like the idea of something, but they don’t like the hard road to get there. But for me, I love it all.”
Photos from the installation are available here: