of the Artist
Yoder was born in rural Garrett County, in the mountains of
Western Maryland. His lineage and background is derived from
the Amish and Mennonites that inhabit the area.
Among his first recollections are evenings
sitting on his father Claude's lap
watching him sketch on the back of the oil cloth kitchen table
covering. This early pleasure of observing creativity had a
great influence on Olin. Like many sons, he copied his father
and though funds were limited, Claude would purchase simple
art supplies for Olin.
enjoyed carving and concentrated in that endeavor the rest of
his life. His work appeared in the first two shows of the American
Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. His collection
is now housed in a museum in Cumberland, Maryland. One of his
carvings done from a plank of an old C&O Canal barge was
given to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
was also influenced by a great uncle, Leo Beachy, who he had
met. Leo maintained a photography studio on his mother's home
place in Garrett County, and photographed the people and landscapes
of the region. Olin would rummage through boxes and albums of
Leo's photos and study his black and white prints. Leo is now
recognized as one of the best regional photographers of Western
Maryland. His pictures have appeared in innumerable publications
and shows. Pittsburgh Public Television produced 2 documentaties
on Leo, and both were awarded an Emmy.
graduated from Allegany High School in Cumberland and attended
Shepherd College in Sheperdstown, West Virginia. A football
scholarship made college possible for Olin. Few knew of his
interest in art until he declared a major in art education.
receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, he returned to Maryland
and began teaching art. He attended the Maryland Institute College
of Art in Baltimore, Maryland and was awarded a Masters in Fine
has received a number of awards as an art instructor. In 1988,
he was selected as Secondary Art Teacher of the year by the
Maryland Art Education Association. In 1990, he was designated
as Anne Arundel County Teacher of the Year and a Maryland State
Finalist. He was presented an "Annie" for his contribution
to the arts by Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
is married to a former first grade teacher, and has two daughters.
Cindy, the Yoder's oldest daughter, has continued the family
art trend and has a degree in Graphic Arts.