Newsletter Spring 2012

An Interview With IDSVA First-Year Student, Larry Decker

Interviewed by Laura Brittain, IDSVA Third-Year Student

Would you share a bit about your history and what lead you to study at IDSVA?

When I think of my life, from my first year of school where all eight grades were in one room, and my high school class of 27—with me the only one going to college, it seems strange and wonderfully impossible. From a small Kentucky town to living in Sedona, Arizona also seems such an unlikely outcome of life. I often say I am blessed to have been born when I was, to whom I was, and where I was, otherwise my life would have been so different…most likely not nearly so rich with happiness, love, and experience. I am blessed.

My “official” education was in the sciences and ultimately medicine. I trained as a nephrologist but bored with dialysis and transplants, went into emergency medicine and was one of the first twelve specialists in the country. Along the way I got an MBA in finance, which stood me well as when I took my company public. I have always been interested in art, but previously never had time to pursue it beyond becoming a docent at the Cincinnati Museum while I was working. I then moved to NYC for a year to get my MA at Christie’s: a most spectacular year, and a wonderful art experience with a lot of hands-on experience, field trips to foundries, conservators at the great museums, etc. I came across IDSVA and it fit in so well with my interest in Philosophy and Art. I thought the program was made for me….and here I am.

What have you learned since you’ve been in the program? 

I have learned so much during the last 6 months in the program, relating to the great interrelationship between art and philosophy. I’ve learned about aesthetics from a personal and practical view and from a more ethereal philosophical one. It has furthered my belief that art is philosophy!  

How have your ideas changed since the Italy residency?

Italy was fantastic. The idea of an immersion in art was exciting, and the lectures, readings, papers all contributed to this environment. The residency wetted my appetite for more and more integration of various environments artistically and culturally. I can’t wait to go back to Berlin for our residency in June of 2012.

My ideas changed since Italy in several ways. Prior to the trip I thought the idea of an immersion type of residency was unnecessary and especially one so ‘inconvenient’ as in Italy—that the necessity of getting to know your cohort in depth was superfluous. Now I feel just the opposite. I would never appreciate the program so much without these requirements! It is inspiring to see all these young and bright students. They are so eager and so smart and so full of energy. It’s daunting for someone of my age. It is supposed to be the older and questionably wiser who leads the youth, but I have found the reverse. I learn so much from my cohort and absorb so much of their energy that it is rejuvenating to me. I can’t wait to be with everyone, from professors to students in NYC.

Larry Decker was born in Clarryville, Kentucky. His early school years were spent in a tiny one-room school where he received a wonderful education. The sisters of St. Mary High School were tough and caring, and along with his twenty-seven classmates prepared him for the big transition to the University of Cincinnati. He received his BS in Zoology (summa cum laude) and moved on to the College of Medicine, earning a MD followed by residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Nephrology at Boston City Hospital and Boston University. He is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician but no longer practice medicine. Larry has been married to Carol Scribner for 30 years and have two sons, Peter and Chris, and two grandchildren, Amy and Michael. During his years in medicine he went back to school and got an MBA in finance and took his urgent medical care business public traded on NASDQ. With his developing love of art he became a docent at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Larry and Carol went into transition (retirement) in 1955 and moved to the southwest (Sedona, AZ) to escape the gray winters of the Midwest.