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As a prolific artist and sculptor, Jon Zahourek's passion for design and aesthetics were in play long before he developed a fascination for teaching anatomy. Jon dropped out of college to go to art school in Denver. He was trained as an illustrator, and by 1962 had become a full time painter and sculptor-respected among his peers primarily for his drawing. Jon's subject was almost exclusively, the human figure. During this time there were very few artists making a living through their artwork and most of them were living in Taos, New Mexico. Jon made his way there and communed with other artists in a climate of cooperation, rather than competition. This young group of artists drew together, painted together, sculpted together, and shared virtually everything.

By the late 1960's, the art scene in Taos and even Sante Fe had become, in Jon's words, "a bit claustrophobic," so he and a handful of other artists made their way up to Denver. The fact that Jon never earned an art degree rarely limited him. In Denver, he was occasionally asked to teach drawing and anatomy at the Colorado Institute of Art, Denver University, and Red Rocks Community College. Although Jon was teaching, he continued to depend almost exclusively on the sales of his artwork.

In 1977, Jon and his family moved to New York City in order to immerse themselves in a vastly different life. Jon plunged himself into the world of art and was invited by Parson's school of Design to be an adjunct instructor one day a week, teaching artists to draw human figures "out of their head." He recognized that for his students to enhance this ability, they needed a solid understanding of human anatomy. In order to help with this process, he created a scale model skeleton on which to demonstrate surface anatomy in clay. Although he created this to serve as a learning tool for his art students, he quickly realized that he was learning more about anatomy than they were. At the age of forty, Jon discovered the brilliance inherent in his own body's bioengineering. He also discovered that there was a profound connection between this revelation and his increasing levels of self-confidence. As he began to realize the importance of this path to self-discovery, he abandoned the art world in order to bring his realization to the world. During this time he met his second wife and business partner, Reneé Whitman. The two pooled their resources enabling Jon to continue intensely researching, designing, and applying his artist/anatomist disciplines and skills to self-discovery and learning. While Jon continued to construct models for his own research, Reneé began to develop a workshop business which provided a venue for Jon and others to deepen their understanding of anatomy. The workshops also provided the financial underpinnings that served necessary in the creation of Zahourek Systems, Inc., today a flourishing business.

Enduring decades of ridicule, without credentials or institutional support, and funded initially by workshops and art sales, he patiently continued his constructive learning project. After years of "bootstrapping," against all odds, the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System, which his project came to be called, became both accepted and celebrated. Both he and Reneé are thrilled to know that hundreds of thousands of youngsters, in nearly 6,000 classrooms in the U.S. alone, have experience the same growth in understanding and self- confidence that Jon experienced. Using his creations as their own personal learning labs, students across the board have discovered the perfection and beauty inherent in their human bodies. Since the introduction of his system, teachers and learners of all ages have applauded this creative, fun, and innovative approach to the study of anatomy. Those who have had the opportunity to experience Jon's powerful method claim that they have not only learned about themselves and their world, but more importantly, they have learned how to learn--anything and everything.

Although Jon has retired from the Zahourek Systems, Inc. he continues to spend his days exploring and refining his approaches to the study of anatomy. He created Jon Zahourek, Inc., a company dedicated solely to the research and development of new and innovative models and learning techniques. Jon hopes that his discoveries will aid in a forever deepening understanding of anatomy in its zoological context. He has also come to recognize the inherent power of his "hands-on" approach and has become profoundly interested in the neuroscience behind the success inherent in the learning that takes place when we build with our hands. Using our hands to discover deeper truths about ourselves and the world we live in is actually our oldest and most profound technology for discovery. Jon is currently creating comparative primate models, collaborating with the Smithsonian Institution's Human Origin's initiative and the Zoologik® Foundation, an organization committed to integrating the study of human anatomy into core-curriculum. He has also launched the Formative Haptic Institute, an organization committed to researching the benefits of formative haptic learning; learning that takes place through modification, manipulation, and formation of an object, leading to dynamic evaluations of logic, potential, and possibility.