CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
UI Museum of Art receives Iowa Humanities Board awards
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art and its curator of
education, Emily Vermillion, have received the 1996 Iowa Humanities Award
for Outstanding Project in the Public Humanities.
The award was given for the educational programming that accompanied the
exhibition, "Plain Pictures: Images of the American Prairie," which
was shown at the museum Aug. 17-Nov. 3, 1996.
Stephen Prokopoff, director of the UI Museum of Art, said, "We are delighted
to have this acknowledgement of the museum's rich and innovative educational
programming for both the community and the university."
Iowa Humanities Awards are given annually by the Iowa Humanities Board. They
recognize significant contributions through the humanities to the cultural
life of Iowa and are granted in three categories. The award for Outstanding
Project in the Public Humanities is chosen from a pool of grant projects funded
by the IHB during the preceding calendar year.
The other two categories are Lifetime Service to the Public Humanities and
Distinguished Service to the Public Humanities.
In giving the award, the IHB noted that "the 'Plain Pictures' exhibit
at the University of Iowa Museum of Art was the first-ever artistic survey
of the great American Prairie. More than 14,000 individuals participated in
the exhibition and the complementary programming while it was on display in
"Under the direction of Emily Vermillion, 'A Prairie Seed Packet,' a
teaching resource packet was developed and distributed to 53 regional school
districts and extension services. The packet won an honorable mention for
educational resources from the American Association of Museums.
"In addition, a three-day regional symposium sponsored by the Museum
of Art, 'Images and Functions of the American Prairie,' brought together a
diverse array of humanities scholars with the public and arts educators to
explore the function, images and viewpoints about the prairie."
Vermillion was assisted in the preparation of the Prairie Seed Packet by
Deborah-Eve Lombard, education assistant at the museum.
"Plain Pictures: Images of the American Prairie" and its companion
book issued by the Smithsonian Institution Press examined artistic responses
to the prairies from the 1830s to the present. At the UI the exhibition included
more than 80 paintings and photographs by both well and lesser known artists,
including Grant Wood, George Catlin, Alfred Jacob Miller, Worthington Whittredge,
John Steuart Curry and Keith Jacobshagen.
Total attendance at the UI showing of "Plain Pictures" was 14,555,
a record for attendance at a single exhibition at the UI Museum of Art.
The 1996 opening of "Plain Pictures: Images of the American Prairie"
at the UI Museum of Art commemorated both the state of Iowa and the University
of Iowa sesquicentennials. Following its display at the UI Museum of Art,
the exhibition traveled to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, and
the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Neb.
The exhibition was organized by the University of Iowa Museum of Art with
guest curator Joni Kinsey, an assistant professor at the UI School of Art
and Art History. It was supported in part by the National Endowment for the
Humanities, a federal agency, and Land O'Lakes Inc.