January 2, 2024
Posted by: Kelly Chambers
Tennessee Tech University’s Appalachian Crafts Center has new artwork on display that greets visitors as they enter the lobby. It’s a painting titled “Reminiscence” by the late Sally Crane Jager.
Sally was a member of the Art Department at Tech University from 1967 to 2001. During her tenure, she contributed to Tech’s Bachelor of Arts Education and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Painting. She also managed the Joan Derryberry Art Gallery and served as Interim Director of the Craft Center.
Kim Winkle, director of the College of Arts, Crafts and Design and the Appalachian Crafts Center, said that when Sally’s husband, Bob Yeager, told her he would be donating the painting to the university, Sally thought it would be the perfect place to display it. He says he knew the place. Craft center lobby.
“Sally had a warm, inviting personality,” Winkle said. “I think her painting in the lobby is another way to welcome people who come to the craft center. We love being able to feature it and have a piece of Sally with us every day. It’s an honor.”
Reminiscences is a large-scale nine-panel painting that Bob describes as an autobiographical compendium.
“This is the story of Sally in the picture,” he said.
Bob explains that Sally liked to include portals, or doors and windows, in her paintings. The flashbacks also include what at first glance appears to be a dark smudge, but is actually a shadow of Sally’s family. Finally, the colors represent the Oklahoma plains where Sally grew up. Bob says Sally’s paintings convey her personality.
“She loved people,” he said. “She loved to teach. She loved to share her knowledge with others. Even now, when I’m at the grocery store, one of her former students comes up to me. “Yager, I just wanted to tell you how much I miss her.” Sally loves life so much, and it shows in her paintings. She cannot think of any negative connotations in her paintings. It’s all about creativity, life, and joy. ”
Sally and Bob met at a faculty conference, and they married in 1993, with Bob joking that it was the best thing that ever happened to him. Bob was a member of Tech’s music faculty, and the two shared a love of the arts. . Sally said she passed away in 2014, but Bob is grateful that people continue to appreciate her art.
Sally’s painting was officially dedicated at the Craft Center on November 19th, and Bob remembers seeing the painting on display there for the first time.
“This painting is on the wall right when you walk in the front door. What’s great is that there is a window directly opposite the painting that lets in natural light,” he said. “The pictures really shine.”
Bob added that he was able to share a special moment with his late wife at the dedication ceremony.
“It was towards the end of the event, people were starting to leave and things were quiet,” Bob recalls. “I looked up at that painting in my new house and said, ‘What do you think, honey?’ I know she was there for that.”
Winkle said that although Sally has passed away, her presence and influence remains strong at the craft center and in the Upper Cumberland arts community.
Bob added, “She loved this community and the people in it, and of course Tennessee Tech. She enriched both this community, the university community and Cookeville itself. For an artist, nothing could be more important. There’s nothing I can say. She left the earth in a better place.”