Nicholas Kripal

Nicholas Kripal

    Contact Information


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    1958 – 2016

    Ceramics / Installation

    Artist's Biography

    In Memoriam

    1958 - September 30, 2016

    The following are excerpts from an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

    Kripal died Sept. 30 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 63.  The son of a gas station owner from Lodgepole, Neb. — pop. 318 — Kripal came to Philadelphia in the 1980s for a job at Tyler and never left. He bought a house on North 2nd Street and behind it cultivated an enormous garden. He adopted a dog, a mostly-mastiff mutt named Bella. He crafted enormous, imposing adobe sculptures and terra cotta pieces that could fit in your hand. He taught hundreds of students over 34 years as a professor, and only stopped teaching this spring, when he became too ill to continue.


    Kripal never married and had no children, but cultivated a close circle of friends. He met his frequent collaborator, Jeffrey Mongrain, in an MFA program at Southern Illinois University in the late 1970s, and the two remained close for the next 40 years, holding shows around the world. Kripal designed his sculptures for cathedrals and “spiritual spaces,” Mongrain said. He was inspired by gothic architecture and religious stories, and the idea of creating something new for all those old places.

    Kripal is survived by his mother, a brother, and a sister. Donations may be sent to the Nicholas Kripal Scholarship, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, 2001 N. 13th St., Philadelphia 19122.

    Aubrey Whelan, "An appreciation: Nicholas Kripal, Temple prof who helped students 'come alive with excitement'", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct 26, 2016


    Nicholas Kripal was the chair of the Crafts Department Tyler School of Art, Temple University, area head of the department's Ceramics Program, and Vice President of Crane Arts LLC, Philadelphia.

    He was an artist who utilized the ceramic medium as a source for sculptural installations, and he created work in the arena of site-specific/site-related installations that explored architectural iconography as a source for their format. These installations have been seen in Contemplations on the Spiritual Site Projects: Glasgow, Scotland (2001), Site Projects: Kristus Kircke, Cologne, Germany (2002), Site Projects: Sala Uno, Rome, Italy (2001), and Site Projects: The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, NYC (2002). Along with sculptor Jeffrey Mongrain, he has created site installations for St. Patrick's Church, Indianapolis, IN (2004) and Corpus Christ Church, Baltimore, MD (2005). His last solo exhibitions included, Award Winners, Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT (2008), Museo Casa Principala, Vera Cruz, Mexico (2004), and Ceramic Sculpture: Eclipsing Process, Art Gallery, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia (2003). He is the recipient of a PEW Fellowship in the Arts, a Pollock-Krasner grant, and three Pennsylvania Foundation for the Arts Fellowships. He was awarded Artist-in-Residency positions at the La Napoule Art Foundation, France and Art Park, Lewiston, NY.

    Professional Experience

    1985 - 2016
    Professor, Tyler School of Art of Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

    1979 - 1985
    Assistant Professor, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI


    Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL
    MFA, Ceramics

    University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, NE
    MS Art Education

    University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, NE
    BFA, Ceramics