Arthur Joseph "Art" Chapman was born in 1946 in Vallejo, California, and passed away suddenly of a heart attack while on his morning walk Monday, April 9, 2012.
Art was Professor Emeritus at Cal Poly, where he taught for 37 years in the Department of Architecture in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. In his long career at Cal Poly, Art taught introductory and advanced classes in computer-aided design, building science and design studio, and played a pivotal faculty role in the architecture graduate program.
In addition to serving a term as Architecture Associate Department Head, Art held multiple leadership positions within the university, including Director of Instructional Computing and Operations, Director of Computer-Aided Productivity Center and Director of Cal Poly Academic Mainframe Specialty Center.
As emeritus and part of the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP), Art continued to team-teach with his friends and colleagues, Professors Howard Weisenthal and Jim Bagnall.
In 1986, Art founded the Cal Poly Collaborative Agent Design Research Center (CADRC) with another long-time friend and colleague, Jens Pohl. In 1994, Art and Jens founded CDM Technologies, Inc. in San Luis Obispo, which was recently acquired by Boeing Corporation and merged with its subsidiary, Tapestry Solutions.
From 1994 to 2010, Art served as President of CDM. After the acquisition by Tapestry, Art agreed to continue in a leadership role and served as Senior Director of Tapestry Technical (IT) Services. Tapestry Solutions San Luis Obispo currently employs over 100 people and provides software development services to military and commercial customers.
Art grew up in Reno, Nevada, and the San Francisco Bay Area, where he attended St. Francis High School in Mountain View, California.
He received his undergraduate degrees in Architecture and Mathematics from Cal Poly in 1970 and earned his master's degree in Computer Science from Penn State in 1972.
After graduate school, Art worked for architectural firms in New York and Los Angeles before his return to San Luis Obispo to begin his teaching career at Cal Poly.
Art modeled the importance of treating others with kindness and care at all times and served as a mentor, teacher, and guide to many people, in a variety of communities nearby and far away. He believed one of his most important roles in life was to facilitate, build and maintain relationships with others, and he did this with exceptional talent. He lived life with energy and enthusiasm that he readily shared with others.
Art was a person who thought with his heart as well as his mind, and has left his spirit in his surviving wife of 43 years, Danielle; and two daughters Karen and Jennifer; extended family of students, colleagues, and friends; breakfast group of retired architecture professors, with whom he shared an understanding of the relationship between artistic work and community; and all of the dear companions who followed alongside his path at work and in life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur Breckinridge and Josephine Tafoya Chapman; and brother, Steve Peluffo.
A funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday, April 1, 2012, at Nativity of Our Lady Catholic Church, followed by a reception at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Art's honor to the Cal Poly Newman Center http://www.slonewman.org, or to a charity of your choice.
To share your thoughts and memories, please email the Architecture Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. We thank you for sharing your contributions in celebration of Art's life.
The sudden passing away of my senior colleague Art Chapman has left me shocked and saddened. He will be truly missed. A few years ago during an art workshop, he gifted me a personally handcrafted sketching pen made of bamboo. It still flows beautifully and I will continue to remember Art every time I use it.
Emeritus Prof. Martin Harms
I was very sad to hear of Art's passing. I remember him as a most genial, friendly and accomplished colleague. I can't recall an occasion on which he didn't have a smile on his face and a kind word for someone else. It truly is a great loss for Cal Poly.
Valerie Conant, Senior Landscape Architect, BMS Design Group
Thank you, Art for teaching me to use AutoCAD. You helped me to enjoy a subject I dreaded and gave me a skill I use every day. May your family be comforted by the richness of your life.
I smile at the mention of Art Chapman's name, as I am immediately transported back to my 2nd year design studio. His smile made friends of everyone and his laugh communicated zest for life. He was such a humble man, always focusing on making those around him successful. I am grateful for his touch on my life as an architecture student and saddened to hear of his passing. He has left a void, which is a hug complement to his life!
Art was one of the most lively and enthusiastic professors I've had at Cal Poly. I remember when he taught us watercolors; he was so excited about sharing his passions he would lick the paintbrush to demonstrate how it should look - it was such a funny moment in class! He was taken from us far too soon.
Craig R. Smith, AIA, CEO/Principal Architect, CRSA Architecture
I have known Art for over 30 years and recently we would "run" into each other on a very infrequent basis. He is truly on of the main contributors to the namesake and reputation of Cal Poly's School of Architecture and Environmental Design. His input, teaching, advice, and participation, with the school, is a testimony to the high rank and file the school shares today. He was a pioneer and visionary. He was always patient, but always forward thinking. He will always be remembered and revered for his dedication and contribution to putting the school on the map.
Scott Lee, AIA, LEED AP
I remember Art fondly from my years at Cal Poly that began with a high school summer program in 1982 and concluded with a B. Arch in 1989. Art was a kind and talented mentor. I am sad to learn of his passing and touched by the remembrance and the reminder of all he has contributed to the profession and to the lives of so many.
Allen Meskimen, MS Arch 2011
The classes taught by Art Chapman were always artistically stimulating, thought provoking and cheerful. He constantly challenged me to "think outside the box" and it finally sunk in. This was quite a feat considering a student of my considerable maturity (we were in the same age group). Through his mandotory daily sketches and water color workshops he instilled in me a love of water color that persists. I wish he were still with us, so that we could benefit from his teaching and cheerful spirit.
Lucy Redmond, Design Engineer, Rutherford & Chekene
Art was a wonderful professor and the energy he brought to his lectures will always be fondly remembered by myself and I am sure by my classmates. Art introduced our class to watercolor sketches, and to this day each time I see a watercolor rendering I think back and smile at how he had us begin our classes with review of our watercolor sketches and of course, his contagious laughter. It was truly a privilege to have had him as a professor.
Serim Denel and Bilgi Denel, Professors Emeriti, Architecture
Art Chapman was a friend and colleague for us, always positive and giving. We are both deeply saddened by his sudden and unexpected passing. Our thoughts are with his family and with all his friends in Architecture.
Jolie Lucas, CFM, AICP, LEED AP, RSP Architects
I had the good fortune of taking a graduate level class from Art Chapman while in the MBA program in 1994 or 1995. He introduced me to the International Facility Management Associaton (IFMA), an organization with which I became very involved (and it helped me find my first position after graduation). I remember him describing a facility manager as "someone like me - reasonably bright, talkative and you kind of don't mind hangiing around with them!" He was entirely too modest - but knowing I might meet more people like Art Chapman led me to facility management and planning as a career choice - for which I am grateful. I wish everyone had the opportunity to take one of his classes.
Carlos Garcia, Architect
A great person to know. His enthusiasm in teaching reflected on the student enjoying to learn. I first met him while I participated in the very first Cal Poly summer architecture program 1982 for high students interested in Architecture. Together Professors Art Chapman and Jim Bagnall brought out the desire from me to see, hear, touch and live architecture. Thirty years later I will carry those feelings with me.
Your thoughtfulness and guidance will live forever in your students. Thank you Professor.
Jane Lily, MCRP, Chair, Interior Design, West Valley College
Art Chapman was patient with me when we used "punch cards" in his computer class - and I could not type! He showed me that computers are only a tool for creativity. I give this message to my CAD students every semester. Art's sense of humor and reputation as a fine and dedicated design instructor are remembered. His ideas go on.
Jason Patch, MS Arch 2010
“The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long” (Qtd by Dr. Eldon Tyrell in the film Bladerunner). Anyone who knew Art Chapman cannot deny he was a man who lived an interesting and fulfilling life. Personally, I was touched by his example of not only what it means to be human, but to program artistic solutions to technical problems. Like one of his closest colleagues, Jens Pohl, he was always there when someone needed him and together they were examples of higher artistic and scientific aspirations anyone seeks to attain in life. He was Cal Poly.
Nick Finn, BArch 2011
Art Chapman was very kind, understanding, and helpful. When I was late getting something in on time he helped me feel better when I was upset. He was kind in how he explained what I could improve on.