FINE ART

About Jerrold

     Jerrold “Jerry” Sliter Carton was born on May 2, 1947, and grew up in the town of Massena, in upstate New York, along the St. Lawrence River. He was the youngest son, of three, of the late James N. Carton, of Massena, and Vera L. Sliter of Cornwall, Ontario.

In his own words: “At the age of 14, already certain that I wanted to be an artist, I converted a room of my parents’ house into a studio. There, I spent the majority of my adolescence experimenting with media and techniques and avidly reading art texts. I received my B.F.A. degree in painting in 1970 from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. During my time there, I was privileged to study with such notables as Roberto Matta, Christo, Kurt Sonderborg, Wayne Thibaud and George Segal. A quantity of my work, including sculpture has been exhibited and sold in galleries from New York to New Mexico for a number of years. ”

(This quote was taken directly from the book The First Sliters of Canada, by John Sliter. The quote was written by me as my Dad told me over the phone what to write for John’s book. He was in the hospital at the time the book was being made.)

Jerrold married his first wife in Minneapolis in 1969, and had two daughters, Tara and Carrie.  They divorced in 1980.

From 1972 to his death in 2009, Jerrold worked as an Art Therapist at Butterfield Youth Services in Marshall, Missouri. His work with abused and neglected children there, as well as traumatic events in his own life, certainly influenced his art and the way he viewed the world. Many former residents have said they looked up to him as a father-figure and that he was their favorite and most memorable staff member from their stays at Butterfield.

The May 2009 Newsletter from Butterfield says:

 “When Tom Butterfield hired the teacher/artist, “art therapy” was a young specialty in counseling.  Social workers and counselors were finding that clients who were unable to talk about past trauma could express themselves through drawing and other creative mediums. Tom wanted to build a quality program for the youth being sent to BYS; hiring someone to implement an art therapy program seemed a good step to take. Nearly four decades later, who could have imagined how many lives would be touched? How many children would be helped? Jerry’s approach to his work with the kids was laid-back; his goal was for the youth to see all kinds of creativity occurring from working with wood to working with beads to working with dried gourds. There was photography, painting and sculpting. Whatever could be used was used for the purpose of engaging the child. 

[There is] a story about Jerry and a canoe.  A child came to live at BYS. He came to the art studio but wasn’t interested in doing any of the traditional stuff. He finally told Jerry he’d like to build a canoe. Jerry told him he was unsure how to build a canoe but they could find a book to tell them how. So they got the book, got the materials and got started. That child’s stay at BYS ended before the canoe was finished.  Every now and then a youth would come through and question the project and Jerry would respond, “We can work on it together if you like.”  Finally, sometime during the ’80’s  Jerry helped a child finish the canoe. When that youth was discharged from BYS, the canoe went home with him. 

It wasn’t simply that Jerry was willing to take on any project to engage the kids. His presence created a calm environment. His attitude was accepting. On a campus where staff is schooled on behavior management, the art studio remained free of behavior problems. 

If you have visited our Child and Family Therapy Center you have seen the art-work lining the walls. When Jerry began his life work at Butterfield, he sketched every single child. Those framed sketches give a visitor more than a moment’s pause. They capture the hurt and sadness of one young life after another which was marked by child abuse or severe emotional problems. In addition to Jerry’s sketches of early residents, the walls are covered with the art of current residents. Jerry encouraged the creativity of the kids by displaying their work throughout the building. 

And he was a master teacher. One of our current residents agreed to talk about Jerry but his sadness was evident in the slump of his shoulders and the soft huskiness of his voice. As we walked he pointed out some of his own artwork along the way. He fell silent. He said Jerry wanted him to paint the lilies. He went on to say that Jerry through his artwork was inspiring; that when Jerry was sad, looking at the art made him feel a little happier.” by Barb Mayfield

In late 2008 Jerrold became ill and was initially misdiagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and then Mononucleosis.  After failed rounds of antibiotics he discovered his illness was actually lymphoma. He proceeded with chemotherapy, which his doctors told him would not permanently rid him of his rare type of lymphoma, angio-immunoblastic t-cell lymphoma. He then applied, and was accepted into a stem cell transplant research program at Washington University’s Barnes-Jewish Hospital. On April 1, 2009 he received his transplant and he seemed to be doing well with it. But on April 8th, during a platelet transfusion, he suffered cardiac arrest, and was unable to be stabilized for over twenty minutes. As a result, he suffered severe brain injury. He passed away on April 14, 2009.

8 responses

  1. It was an honor and pleasure to know Jerry. We were art school friends, spent many nights in those days talking about all the things that art students like to talk about. When I moved to Europe we kept up mail for a few years, then lost contact. Fortunately we were able to reconnect via Internet, exchanged some emails for three years and even got to talk to each other on the phone just two weeks before his death. Reading about him, I see how much he was loved by all the people that were near to him. His departure from life is a great loss to all of us. Thank you Carrie and Tara for cherishing him in this way.

    Like

    July 11, 2011 at 7:44 am

  2. john kopsky

    liked your dads artwork,vibe and work with troubled youth. will be contacting you about purchasing original work and look forward to visiting Butterfield in Marshall as a side trip next time i visit my sister in Columbia, Mo

    Like

    September 17, 2011 at 10:12 am

  3. Your father was of my generation. And I too am a big Dylan fan. I blogged about Dylan’s art some time ago. I love your father’s art. I was wondering if I could blog about your dad’s work. Let me know on my blog or email me at miedavid@yahoo.com. Thanks. P.S. I also have 2 daughters.
    David

    Like

    September 29, 2011 at 5:01 am

  4. I just blogged your dad’s work. I hope it helps bring more attention to his work. The work deserves it.
    http://powerofh.wordpress.com/

    Like

    September 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm

  5. Michelle Lewis

    During my time at butterfield I spent ever min I was allowed to in art room.. He showed me the beauty in painting and drawing.. He also taught me everything I know bout painting I can honestly say I still love painting.. I never was able tell him I appreciate everything he taught me I hope he knows.. I had been in out other group home and after this every time I get upset or something bad happens I turn my painting and drawings.. I am happy say butterfield was last group home I was ever in:)

    Like

    February 16, 2014 at 9:54 am

    • Hi Michelle. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to approve your comment. This is the first I’ve seen it.
      I happy to hear that he had a positive influence in your life, and I’m sure he would be happy to know that too.
      Thank you for posting!
      Carrie

      Like

      April 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm

  6. wendi l. boettcher

    Hello, I’m so sorry to hear of your father’s passing…….I went to school in Marshall, Mo (Missouri Valley College) for a year and met your father through a friend…..I went onto becoming an art therapist and it was your father who introduced me to the field……..While in my first year of studies in art therapy one of our assignments was to interview an art therapist and I called your dad and interviewed him……..It was such an honor to cross paths with your father……may you find peace within your memories…….thank-you for sharing his work via the internet….namaste, wendi l. boettcher

    Liked by 1 person

    April 10, 2014 at 7:25 pm

  7. Joshua Brown

    I was a resident of Buyerfield from 1994 to 1997, I spent every chance I could with him, he was the kindest most thoughtful man you could ever hope to meet, he taught me a tremendous amount about the art world and inspired me to persue my talents, to develop them and to be a better person. I was never happier than when I walked into his class room, always doning a smile and ready to learn something new and exciting. I never once saw a single person have a bad day that wasn’t made instantly better just by walking through the doors of Jerry’s classroom. The world has truly lost one of its greatest treassures the day he passed. Jerry, you’ll be missed forever and never forgotten by hundreds, I can garentee that.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 27, 2016 at 6:31 pm

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