April 26, 2023
On Saturday, April 15, at 3 p.m., Asbury University dedicated the John DeCuir Production Design Study Center, named after Hollywood art director and production designer John DeCuir Sr. in a ceremony held at the university’s Andrew S. Miller Center for Communication Arts that welcomed film production designer John DeCuir Jr. At the event, DeCuir Jr. autographed prints and presented Asbury with an Oscar award from The King & I. Additionally, DeCuir Jr. served as a judge for the Highbridge Film Festival.
“It became clear that a memorial to my father was best placed in a vibrant educational environment,” DeCuir Jr. said. “We sought out an institution where student filmmakers could be inspired by the content and extent of my father’s life’s work. In making this decision we recognized that Asbury University’s School of Communication Arts, and its Dean Dr. Jim Owens, have proudly demonstrated their dedication to using historical artifacts of film history as educational tools.”
The John DeCuir Collection is part of the Asbury University Production Design Studies Center that features production designs, sketches and storyboards from films dating from the 1930s to present. The collection includes more than 400 original set design paintings, over 1,200 sketches, and part of the library of books that inspired John DeCuir Sr. and John DeCuir Jr. in their illustrious eight-decade production design careers. Some key pieces from the collection original artwork from films like Gone With the Wind, Hello Dolly!, Ghostbusters, Cleopatra and more.
The body of work highlights Hollywood’s Golden Age of Cinema, and DeCuir Jr. emphasized that the original storyboards and archival images are significant because they “were designed in the heat of ‘creative battles’ that produced award-winning cinematic productions. These sketches exist as a prediction (prognosis) of a film’s success, and in some cases, failure. They are an incredible educational tool, a snapshot in the life of a broad cross-section of filmmaking. No better body of design work can be used to study the evolution of a film’s conceptual life as it moves from script to screen.”
For more information about the collection, visit http://asburyproductiondesignstudiescenter.com.