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April 28 @ 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Fleischer Art Memorial

719 Catharine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147 United States


Celebrating the life of John Sevcik

It is with deep sadness that we share news of the recent passing of John Sevcik, a longtime and influential member of Fleisher’s faculty. John passed away on March 1, 2024 after a battle with metastatic lung cancer.

John brought a wide range of teaching experience to Fleisher’s studios, having also taught courses at The Delaware Art Museum, the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Immaculata University, Delaware College of Art and Design, and Bucks County Community College. His approach to teaching and commitment to the creative journey also reflected his philosophy of life. As John said, “In my oil paintings, I explore certain evocative states created by the energy and expression of painted images. A narrative element is also evident. The balance of enigma and meaning in my work reflect my philosophy of life. In considering the human scene, I remind students that the making of a painting is a journey that remembers others we have taken.”

In John’s case, the journey would include an English Literature degree from Villanova and graduating from the four-year certificate program at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In addition to being an accomplished visual artist with paintings and drawings exhibited across the country and internationally, he was also a playwright, poet and essayist. His impact on Fleisher was long and lasting, as John joined the faculty nearly two decades ago and supported a wide range of students with his patient and encouraging approach. As a teaching artist, he also remained committed to honing his own craft, honored as a past recipient of the Fred and Naomi Hazell Award (a faculty fellowship at Fleisher established by artist, musician, poet and craftswoman Naomi Hazell to support the artistic growth and excellence of painters working in oils) and contributing work to many of our past Dear Fleisher events to help raise funds for the organization.


Screen Shot 2024 03 15 at 2.14.42 PM

The Approach of Night, oil on gessoed shirt box, 9.5 x 14 inches


Back in 2018, Fleisher student (and current Board Member) Nancy Shell was featured in a post on our blog which touched on the impact of John Sevcik’s guidance as her teacher. As Nancy shared, “John’s class taught me trust … trust in the vision, clarity of the mind’s eye, in the process.” Despite the accolades she had received, Shell says she began to question whether or not she was a “real artist,” and found her insecurities preventing her from initially participating in class. “I literally could not do anything,” she said. “I went to John’s class and for three weeks I just sat there and did nothing. I couldn’t put pen to paper. He talked me through it, he talked me off the wall.”

John will be deeply missed. His legacy lives on through the beautiful work he has shared with us, as well as the enduring impact of his commitment to helping others to develop their own gifts as well.

On Sunday, April 28 from 2–7 pm, Fleisher will be hosting a memorial service to celebrate John Sevcik’s life. In lieu of flowers, we’re encouraging members of the Fleisher community to make contributions to this fund to support John’s wife Lynne as she continues to navigate the medical expenses related to John’s illness. 

A two-person exhibition featuring work by John and Lynne (Campbell) titled Songs of Winter; Songs of a Summer will also be opening at Cerulean Arts in late March. The show runs from March 27 through April 21, with an opening reception on Saturday, March 30 from 2–5 pm.

As John’s former students, colleagues, and friends, please leave your own tributes and stories in the comments field below to become part of this archive honoring his long and lasting impact. (Should you encounter any issues leaving comments on the post, please e-mail your comment to esweeny@fleisher.org and we’ll make sure it is included.) To learn more about John Sevcik’s thoughtfully engaged practice as a visual artist, teacher, poet, and essayist, please discover the rich archives of his own blogs (with some essays exploring the work of other teaching artists at Fleisher):

View from the Studio
Poems for a New Century

In closing, a poem from John’s collection, written in the spring of 2023:

I Would Rise

I thought if I could
I would rise, this day of all days
Sunday on Easter, in the sun
Lit below the cold blue sky.
That was the life of a poet:
The sun and gratitude
The sway of breeze upon the bough
The cemetery silent and of stone
Its obelisks and angels pointing up
To where, as heaven knows,
The birds do fly, but I
Have no more hills to climb
Though I would rise, though I would rise.

– John Sevcik


Header image: John Sevcik and his painting Kill Devil Hills (The Wright Bros. Glider No. 3) at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts in 2019.


April 28
2:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Fleischer Art Memorial
719 Catharine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147 United States
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215-922-3456 ext. 300
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