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Students to display photography exhibit at Latvian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

RELEASED: Sept. 27, 2010

These photos by UW-Eau Claire student Megan Ekenstedt, left, and Latvian Culture College student Janis Viksna, right, will be part of the "Cultural Perceptions" display in the Latvian Embassy Oct. 7-Nov. 6.

EAU CLAIRE — An international photography exhibit created last spring by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students enrolled in an advanced photography class will be displayed next month at the Latvian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

An opening reception for the exhibit, "Cultural Perceptions," is slated for 6 p.m. Oct. 7 at the embassy. The exhibit will be displayed from Oct. 7-Nov. 6.

During the Oct. 7 event, five UW-Eau Claire students and two faculty members will present lectures with students and faculty from the Latvian Culture College. The presentations will highlight the group's experiences in developing an international exchange and showcase the art programs from each institution.

"It is certainly an honor for all of us to represent our school in Washington, D.C., and for students to know that their hard work is valued," said Jyl Kelley, assistant professor of art & design, at UW-Eau Claire. "This kind of opportunity is important for our art students. Direct involvement in this type of professional experience enhances student careers here, and will benefit them well beyond their graduation from UW-Eau Claire. Making connections like these carry great value and ultimately open doors for future international ties."

In the spring, the UW-Eau Claire students worked with students from the Latvian Culture College to share and interpret visual culture between the two countries. "Cultural Perceptions" — a series of photographs — was then exhibited in Riga, Latvia, at the Latvian Culture College and Museum of Foreign Art and at UW-Eau Claire. Live feed video connected the students from both parts of the world as they simultaneously present the same artworks.

"We are quite honored to have been invited to display our exhibit once again for the Latvian Embassy with a new responsibility of interpreting the exhibition that we developed as a group," said Kelley. "As faculty members, it is a great honor for us to see our photography students excel and to represent the department of art & design."

UW-Eau Claire senior art majors Megan Ekenstedt, Chippewa Falls, and Lydia Gantert, Wausau, will transport the exhibit to Washington, D.C., and install it at the embassy. They will leave Oct. 3 and will spend several days at the embassy as they work to install the exhibit.

Kelley, Wanrudee Buranakorn, assistant professor of art & design, and three art students will join Ekenstedt and Gantert in Washington, D.C., Oct. 6-8. The students are senior Kimberly Roffers, Ashland; senior Glenn Terpstra, Bloomington, Minn.; and senior Rachel Konsella, Eau Claire. Three students who worked on the original project last spring have since graduated.

"This has been an excellent opportunity for students to gain international perspectives by reaching beyond our classroom to exchange creative knowledge with peers across the globe," said Kelley. "Together we have all learned a great deal from one another."

The event in Washington, D.C., will be sponsored by the Latvian Embassy; UW-Eau Claire's College of Arts and Sciences; the State Culture Capital Foundation in Riga, Latvia; grants from UW-Eau Claire's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; UW-Eau Claire's department of art & design; and UW-Eau Claire's Foster Gallery.

For more information about the project, contact Jyl Kelley at 715-836-4622 or kelleyja@uwec.edu, or visit the project's blog.

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JB/DW

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