Chuck Albanese grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., with most of his interest and activities focused on music. He attended the University of Illinois and received degrees in architecture and urban design. After meeting his wife, Claire, they spent their first year together travelling through Europe in a Volkswagen camper on a university fellowship. He joined the faculty of the University of Arizona College of Architecture in 1967 and soon found himself immersed in community projects along with fulltime teaching responsibilities. Albanese became registered as an architect, formed a firm that continues today, and settled into a busy pattern of teaching, architectural practice, coaching soccer, sketching, and painting in limited periods. He created a university program that enabled him and Claire to spend portions of the following 16 summers guiding university students through Italy and Greece. He retired after 36 years on the faculty, only to soon return as Dean of the now renamed College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. The summer painting and sketching trips continued, and, now with 24 trips behind them, hundreds of new painters have emerged. Some “summer alumni” are now successful exhibiting professional painters.
Forty years at the University of Arizona and the completion of over 250 built projects, have given Albanese a sense of accomplishment that frees him to pursue painting. He integrates his painting with all aspects of life today, including travel, recreation, teaching, and social life. He accepts the structural influence that being an architect implies and strives to achieve freedom and understanding of watercolor as an artist. He sees himself today as a student again: A full career circle that now requires exploration, dedication, commitment, and a free and unencumbered focus on the creative process of being a painter.