About the

Olin Yoder

Background of the Artist

Olin 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 lapYoung Olin 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.

Claude Yoder, Olin's DadClaude 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.

Olin was also influenced by a great uncle, Leo Beachy, who he had never Leo Beachy 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.

Olin 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.

After 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 Arts.

Olin 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.

Olin 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.