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Peter Calaboyias M’69

Peter Calaboyias M'69While studying for a master’s degree in art education at IUP in the mid-’60s, Peter Calaboyias and some of the other students were interested in bronze casting, which wasn’t included in the curriculum at that time.

“We would discuss the process, but really, none of us knew what we were talking about, even with the little knowledge we had gathered from books and periodicals,” Calaboyias said. “I decided at least to pursue how to make a primitive furnace to melt aluminum, with which I had some success. Once it was melted, I had no idea what to do with it, so I simply poured it over dry sand.”

In the more than four decades since he began working with bronze, Calaboyias has developed his own foundry, and with one assistant, he is able to pour more than 90 pounds of bronze successfully into “split canister mold systems.”

“This has allowed me to cast many works in bronze that, without my own foundry,” Calaboyias said, “would absolutely be too costly and prohibitive to do.”

Calaboyias attributes his early interest in art and sculpture to his memories of growing up in Europe and Africa during World War II and seeing images of the broken and twisted metal of war machines, broken marble archaic Greek sculptures, and objects carved in ivory and ebony from Africa.

In 1939, his mother traveled to Greece to visit her family. The war started, and the family was trapped on the island of Ikaria. Calaboyias was born in the village of Karavostamo in 1940. The family’s ordeal included escaping from the Fascists and Nazis in Greece before ending up in a refugee camp in the Belgian Congo. After the war ended, the family returned to the United States and settled in Johnstown.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in art education from Penn State and his master’s from IUP, Calaboyias began a career as an art teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Carnegie Mellon University, the Community College of Allegheny County, and Grove City College while also developing his reputation as an innovative and talented sculptor.

Calaboyias’s sculptures and works of art can be viewed all over the world, including Pennsylvania, Greece, Germany, and Atlanta, Georgia. Tribute, created in 1996 for the Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, is a massive sculpture that depicts three figures in a fan-shaped arch representing athletes from the first Olympics in 776 BC, the start of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, and the integration of women into the games. Installed in Centennial Park, the sculpture was damaged when a terrorist bomb exploded, killing two and injuring more than 100 people. Calaboyias chose not to repair the damage because the sculpture had protected people from the explosion.

He has continued his association with IUP by working with the Art Department in reviewing the sculpture studio and providing a metal casting proposal for consideration and implementation. One of his sculptures, Atticascape, was installed in 1985 after a competition was held for a work to be placed in front of Sally B. Johnson Hall, along Oakland Avenue. An earlier competition work, the Shavers Spring Fountain, was created by Calaboyias for the Student Union in 1966 but has since disappeared.

In his career as a teacher and artist, Calaboyias said he used to believe that he could teach students to be artists, but over time his opinion has changed.

“I have come to realize it’s a gift—at least a combination of education and talent,” he said.

Profile published on 4/10/14

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