By: Nick Amon
Larry Gettleman is an individual of wisdom, who realizes he has multiple students here at the university that possess polished and refined amounts of distinguishable talent. Larry Gettleman is the Co-Advisor of the at the School of Dentistry here at U of L. He and his students hold a booth each year at the St. James Art Fair here in Louisville, where they present their plaster casts of body limbs requested by each willing patron. Ranging from hands, faces, arms, to even feet, Larry Gettleman and his students put an extreme amount of work into each piece in order to provide their willing patrons a remarkable casted mold they can forever keep and take home. Since 2002, Larry Gettleman and his students have been at it with their own unique spin of dentistry inspired artwork.
The origins of the Alpha Omega Fraternity of Dentistry root back to many years ago. With over 5,000 members residing internationally, the Louisville Chapter and co-advisor Gettleman are merely a small fraction of this ever-expanding fraternity of dentistry. Though our local chapter is small in comparison to the fraternity at large, they are anything but small within the community. Volunteering at many charity events around Louisville, this Student Chapter of Alpha Omega gives back to the community in tremendous ways.
Gettleman himself is a very humble older gentleman. He shows no reluctance when sharing his knowledge with the students within the fraternity and appreciates their intuitiveness. Gettleman is very passionate about being involved in the University; not to mention his wife is the “Team Mom” for the baseball team. Gettleman sees events such as the St. James Art Fair as an opportunity to showcase the amount of talent all of his students have. This year, the St. James Art Fair was forced to close early and was rained out the next. Nevertheless, Gettleman and about six of his students were in his backyard on South 4th St. sculpting away casts they molded in previous hours. The process itself is a somewhat tedious one, but one that is well rewarding.
When making the sculptures and casts, the students use the same material that dentists use to make their models of teeth. The only difference is the addition of the material alginate to a special type of dental stone. Once it has been peeled away and sculpted for imperfections, the once gooey material has become a beautiful casting ready for the recipient’s possession.
Overall, Gettleman and the fraternity he so proudly represents are models of artistic ingenuity. A process so simple and routine when visiting the dentist is ultimately flipped upside down and created in an artistic spotlight by Gettleman and his students. They’ve found a way to give us a fresh perspective on a familiar item. Not only do they create art, they create an example that reminds us that we can all make the ordinary extraordinary.