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DMC Art Program’s Fall 2020 Virtual Exhibit Featuring Late Joseph A. Cain’s Works

Article by: Melinda Eddleman

He had a vision. For over half a century, that vision has attracted artists from all over the country as part of an annual juried exhibit that put Del Mar College (DMC) on the art world’s map. During his younger days as a United States Marine, he led other marines as part of the first combat art team during the Korean War. This award-winning artist also critiqued other artists’ work for the local metropolitan newspaper.

The late Professor Joseph A. Cain began teaching full-time at the College in 1962 and later served as the art department chair until his passing in 1980. In celebration of his life and accomplishments, the DMC Art Program with the department of Art and Drama is holding a virtual exhibit of the artist’s work beginning Sept. 25. “Joseph A. Cain: Artist, Teacher, Writer, Marine” is an exhibit of more than 100 pieces from his body of work. The collection includes artwork from the 1940s through 1980.

To access two videos that celebrate Cain’s accomplishments, go to the Art Program’s Facebook page and click on the video gallery to access the exhibit: https://www.facebook.com/ART4DMC. One video produced by Cain’s granddaughter, Allison Mabe-Elizabeth Calloway, features audio by the artist himself speaking about his philosophy of art.

For more information about the virtual exhibit, contact the Art Program at 698-1216 or rramsey@delmar.edu.

Disclaimer: Currently, the Joseph A. Cain Memorial Art Gallery is closed due to restricted access. At this time, viewing of the artist’s work is online only.


“Joe encouraged local artists to keep making art, and he wrote art reviews in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times for many years supporting artists in our community,” said Ken Rosier, current Chair of the Art and Drama Department. “He even encouraged young people by offering Saturday art classes in his home studio. Siblings Randy and the late Ann Flowers, who both have taught among the Art Program’s faculty, and even Farrah Fawcett took his Saturday classes.”

The Henderson, Tenn., native moved to Corpus Christi in 1948 and taught at Corpus Christi High School and W.B. Ray High School before starting his full-time tenure at Del Mar College in the early 1960s. In 1966, Cain established the College’s National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show, which has attracted exceptional artists from all 50 states with their works exhibited in the DMC Joseph A. Cain Memorial Art Gallery each spring. Two-three-dimensional artwork is juried by a selected national or international artist with over 100 pieces featured during the exhibit. In February 2021, the Art Program will celebrate its 55th annual show.

As a young man, Cain joined the U.S. Marines and served during World War II. As a Marine, he reached the rank of colonel. He organized and led the first Combat Art Team during the Korean War in 1951, where artists chronicled and depicted the events of that conflict. The Marine Corps even commissioned Cain to artistically create a depiction of a World War II scene for presentation to General Mark Clark.

After World War II, Cain earned both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of California at Berkeley with a major in painting and a minor in art history.

Cain wrote critiques for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times from 1955 through 1974. He also published articles in Art Voices South, Ford Times, The Southern Artist and The Texas Artist. Additionally, he was very active with the Art League, Corpus Christi Art Foundation and Municipal Arts Commission.

Cain received more than 250 awards in local, state, regional, national and international exhibitions. His work has been shown in more than 700 exhibits throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan and France, including 150 one-man shows. Venues included The Smithsonian Institute, Cleveland Museum, Birmingham Museum and La Jolla Art Center, among many others. Additionally, the Bergen Art Guild exhibited 18 Cain paintings during a two-year national tour.

His awards include the Gold Medal, Seton Hall University (1958); Mid-South Annual, Memphis (1956); Texas Watercolor Society (1951, 1958, 1960, 1965); Dixie Annual, Birmingham (1960); Southern California Annual (1961); the Grumbacher First Award, National Society of Painters in Casein; Philadelphia Watercolor Award; and Prix de Paris Show in Paris, France.

Cain’s work is featured in many collections, including Del Mar College, D. D. Feldman Collection of Contemporary Texas Art, Michael M. Engel, Grumbacher Inc., Minnie Piper Stevens Memorial Foundation and Seton Hall, among others.

His biography has appeared in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, Men of Achievement, Outstanding Educators of America, Personalities of the South, Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in the Southwest.


About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.