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UW-Eau Claire Alumnae to Host ARTShoe
in Foster Gallery

RELEASED: March 8, 2006

photo from shoe collection
photo from shoe collection
A UW-Eau Claire alumna's collection of shoes dating back more than 60 years will be on display in UW-Eau Claire's Foster Gallery March 21-25. (Photos by Becky Mauch)

EAU CLAIRE — Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumnae will combine their love of shoes and photography to create ARTShoe, an exhibit that will open March 21 in the Foster Gallery of the Haas Fine Arts Center at UW-Eau Claire.

Virgelee LeDue, a Neillsville native who has lived in Eau Claire since 1942, has a collection of shoes that dates back more than 60 years. Some of the shoes and photographs of many others will be featured in the ARTShoe exhibit, which will open in conjunction with Senior Americans' Day at UW-Eau Claire.

"We hope that shoe lovers, fashion followers, photographers, UW-Eau Claire alumni, friends and community members will stop by to discover how many shoe styles have come and gone and come and gone and come again," LeDue said of the exhibit.

LeDue, who earned a bachelor's degree from UW-Eau Claire in 1947 and a master's degree in 1971, first developed a passion for fashion during her childhood days on her family's farm in Neillsville.

"Where it all began was that my mother was an excellent seamstress who made everything from children's clothes to wedding dresses," LeDue said. "In her hands, I could see a bolt of material turn into something beautiful that somebody could put on their body — and it intrigued me. I learned to sew a little, but not like my mom. People would come to our house for fittings. Extra ribbons and lace from fashioning wedding dresses were given to my mom, who put them around the feed sack dress collars and matching bloomer ruffles that she made for me. She made shirts for my dad and suits for my brothers as well."

With money gifts from her eighth-grade graduation, LeDue bought four pair of the same style of shoes in different colors for $4.95 a pair from the Sears Roebuck catalog. Those pink, blue, yellow and purple 1938 shoes will be on display as part of the ARTShoe show.

LeDue's shoes have been photographed and cataloged by her friend Becky Mauch, who earned a master's degree from UW-Eau Claire in 1987. Mauch created the ARTShoe project and designed the gallery exhibit.

LeDue and Mauch, who became friends in 1987, decided to take pictures and start cataloguing LeDue's fashion collection. They started with the shoes, Mauch said.

"Since she has been able to keep, store and wear over 60 years' worth of shoes, it has taken awhile," Mauch said of the project. "Her colorful clothing, coats and hats have been shared with various community groups for fundraising fashion shows but are yet to be catalogued."

The ARTShoe exhibit will be on display March 21-25 in the Foster Art Gallery in the Haas Fine Arts Center. An opening reception, supported by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, is slated for 4:30-7 p.m. March 21.

Gallery hours during the ARTShoe will be: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. March 21; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 22-24; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 25.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Becky Mauch at (715) 835-6581 or ramauch@ecol.net, or Virgelee LeDue at (715) 832-6570.

-30-

JB

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