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Donor Spotlight

Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary | Generosity rooted in pride, remembrance, dedication to home

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David Hostetler Legacy Fund


Every community has individuals by which it is defined. David was such an individual.

There is a place in rural Athens County, Ohio where a tall, grey bearded man with a do-rag on his head walked through the woods and saw the female form in every tree, where the sounds of his mallet striking a metal chisel transformed those ancient trees into women. This world, unique unto itself, is the world created by David L. Hostetler.

Hostetler was an eminent and much beloved sculptor, painter, printmaker and teacher whose works are featured in prominent galleries and private collections worldwide. He died after a short illness on 17 November 2015 in Athens. He was 88 and lived in Athens, Ohio and Nantucket, Massachusetts. A wood carver and bronze sculptor of works capturing the female form, David was also a professor at Ohio University. His art career, spanning almost seventy years, progressed from folk images to stylized forms. His work appeared in over 25 museums and galleries, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Milwaukee Museum and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Born in Beach City, Ohio, on December 27, 1926,

Hostetler entered the artistic world by accident. During World War II, he was injured while in the Army. His epiphany occurred during recuperation, when he received drawing materials from a Red Cross volunteer. Hostetler graduated with a BA in art from Indiana University in1948 and a Master’s of Fine Arts from Ohio University in 1949. He taught at Ohio University for 38 years. Hostetler earned wide acclaim for his unique treatment of the feminine form, his “women.” Most of his pieces begin as woodcarvings, with bronze versions cast directly from the wood. In the ’60s, he gained national prominence for a series of carvings using indigenous hardwoods (elm, white oak, walnut, maple).

Hostetler’s artwork also has been featured in films, on television, in newspapers and magazines. A long time fixture on the Athens music scene, Hostetler played drums with multiple jazz ensembles for decades around the state. In 1999 David created his own intimate jazz venue, “Club Dave” at his studio on Coolville Ridge. Starting as a small setting for enjoying jazz classics among close friends, it grew to become a cultural hotspot on the Athens social scene.

You can make an online donation through Network for Good, or mail a check to the Foundation at PO Box 456 | Nelsonville, Ohio 45764 and designate the David Hostetler Legacy Fund.