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Gift Allows UW-Eau Claire to Purchase Lithograph of Artist

RELEASED: May 11, 2009

All by Emmi Whitehorse
Emmi Whitehorse's lithograph "All" has been purchased for UW-Eau Claire's permanent art collection with funds provided by professor emeritus William Benson and his wife, Amy.

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire art professor emeritus and his wife have made a gift to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation to purchase the contemporary lithograph by New Mexico artist Emmi Whitehorse for the university's permanent collection.

Professor emeritus William Benson, who taught printmaking and art education at UW-Eau Claire for 31 years before retiring in 1997, and his wife, Amy, provided funds to purchase the color lithograph, "All," after faculty expressed an interest in the work following the exhibition "Shark's Ink Revisited" at UW-Eau Claire in fall 2008.

"We were pleased and honored that this original color lithograph, 'All,' by Emmi Whitehorse was also the one most appreciated by staff members and students," said William Benson. "Its connectedness to our pluralistic culture goals will grace each environment in which it is placed for many years into the future."

"All" was created in 2006 through a collaborative effort between Whitehorse and master printer Bud Shark. The piece includes signs, symbols and fragments of Navajo words floating in field of color. Using a private language of symbols and memories, Whitehorse makes personal diaries of her life as an artist and of her heritage. She creates textures and colors that conjure up the atmosphere and experience of the New Mexico landscape.

The piece by Whitehorse, which is on display in the department of art & design office, is a significant addition to the university's collection, said Thomas Wagener, director of the Foster Gallery.

"It is important not only from an artistic standpoint, but also as a representation by a prominent Native American artist," Wagener said."Whitehorse exhibits her work across the United States and is also in several major collections."

Whitehorse is represented in many public collections including the Heard Museum, Phoenix; Joslyn Museum, Omaha; St. Louis Museum; and Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe.

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KH/JB

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