Gregory Ivy was born in Clarksburg, Missouri in 1904. He attended the States Teachers College (now Central Missouri State University) in Warrensville, Misssouri where he majored in art and history and minored in economics. After graduating with a B.S in 1928, Ivy taught Junior and Senior High School art classes in St. Louis, thus beginning a long career as both an artist and a teacher.
In 1931 Ivy received his M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University in New York. He majored in painting and minored in design. From 1932 to 1935, he taught at the States Teachers College in Indiana, PA (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) before accepting a position as head of the art department at Woman’s College in Greensboro, NC in 1935. He remained at Woman’s College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) for the next 26 years and was instrumental in founding and developing the art department and establishing The Weatherspoon Art Gallery at the college. Ivy’s creativity, vision and love for the arts helped shape art education in North Carolina.
During his tenure at Woman’s College, Gregory Ivy helped start the MFA program, which until 1950, was the only art department in North Carolina to have both MFA and BFA degrees. Ivy also introduced the first industrial design class in the United States for college women. He was president of the Southeastern College Art Conference of college art teachers, and appointed director of the Burnsville School of Fine Arts in 1952.
Ivy resigned from Woman’s College in 1961 and he and his wife moved to California in 1965 where he had accepted a position as an art professor and chairman of the art department at California State College at Fullerton. He retired from teaching in 1971 and moved to Springfield, Missouri where he died in 1985.
During his lifetime, Gregory Ivy exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, State Art Gallery in Raleigh, the Mint Museum, Art Institute of Chicago and in various galleries in New York. In 2006, the Weatherspoon Art Gallery held a retrospective exhibition of Ivy’s work. “Ivy believed that art could influence our thinking about how we live,” said Will South, curator, Weatherspoon Art Gallery.