Print shop supervisor finds photography success at UALR

Ted Grimmett

By day, Ted Grimmett works as the friendly print shop supervisor who has been at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Printing Services since 2003.

By night, Grimmett has been taking courses for more than a decade to fulfill a lifelong dream of earning a master’s degree.

At 61, he will realize his dream as he graduates with a Master of Arts degree from UALR in August.

“This institution made this possible,” Grimmett said. “I had to take quite a bit of undergraduate classes in order to get qualified to apply to graduate school, so I have been doing this a long time. I’m a goal-oriented person, and this was my goal. I think this is the only place I could have accomplished this, so I give a lot of credit to UALR.”

In addition to Grimmett’s graduation, the UALR Art Gallery will host an exhibit featuring his photography and host a reception in his honor from 4-6 p.m. Friday, July 15.

The exhibit, “Surface Tension,” will be on display July 5-28 in Gallery II in the UALR Fine Arts Building. The work represents Grimmett’s thesis exhibition for his master’s degree.

Grimmett photographs objects and sites that exhibit transparent, translucent, and reflective surface properties. These images provoke questions about the tension between surfaces, how they interact to reveal and withhold detail, and how they appear to the eye.

Finding a love of photography

Although he has been interested in photography since the 1970s, Grimmett wasn’t sure he wanted to study the subject.

“I shopped around, and I considered being a history major. I loved history, but I also enjoyed photography classes,” he said.

Grimmett took up photography in 2007 after enrolling in a class in large format photography from Gary Cawood, a UALR art professor who has since retired.

“Gary Cawood saw something in what I was doing,” Grimmett said. “He felt like I needed to keep pushing and keep working. He gave me a lot of helpful criticism.”

In the years since that first class, Grimmett’s photographs have been featured multiple times in the Delta Art Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center.

“I found a family over there in the art department,” he said. “It might be a little dysfunctional, but it’s a family with all the good and bad that comes with family.”

Finding beauty in photography

Grimmett searches far and wide to find the best locations for his photographs. A majority of his photographs are taken within one mile of his Little Rock home.

“I have spent a lot of time under local bridges and looking for surface tension that usually has to do with water and reflective surfaces. There are a lot of windows, and glass, reflective surfaces in my photographs,” he said.

He has also taken numerous photographs at the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Booneville, Arkansas, which treated more than 70,000 Arkansans. The site holds personal meaning for Grimmett.

“My mother was a patient there back in the 1950s. That’s the main reason I was interested in the site,” Grimmett said. “I feel like these are places and objects that I have found that are meaningful to me.”

The gallery is located in the UALR Fine Arts Building. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment.

For more information, contact Gallery Director Brad Cushman at or 501.569.8977.

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