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Director of Development
UI Museum of Art
500 Alumni Center
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-3305

Release: Immediate

Public invited to Japanese cultural events at UI Museum of Art

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An evening of Japanese cultural activities will complement "The Woodblock Prints of Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi: Samurai Stories," a current exhibition at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. The public is invited to attend "Plum Blossoms in the Snow" from 7 to 9 p.m., Friday, March 14, 1997 at the museum.

Scheduled events include gallery tours, a silent auction, demonstrations of origami, calligraphy and ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arranging) by members of the local community, and an aikiko (a Japanese art of self-defense) presentation by the University of Iowa Aikikai. Japanese hot and cold hors d'oeuvres will be served with tea, plum wine and Japanese beer.

The special evening of interactive activities for adults is organized by the UI Museum of Art Friends' Development Council, a volunteer board that promotes awareness of the museum and raises funds for its projects. To reserve tickets or for more information, call the museum at 335-1724.

The event fee of $25 includes a $15 contribution to the museum to help support its planned Educational Resource Center. Proceeds from the silent auction will also assist the center. Participants can bid on artwork contributed by several artists and items donated by local businesses, including pearls from Mikimoto provided through M. C. Ginsberg Jewelers and Japanese prints provided by the Barn Collections.

"The special evening will help people see that the museum is an important place for user-friendly activities, not just for viewing art," said Suzanne Summerwill, chair of the Friends Development Council and senior vice president and trust officer at Iowa State Bank and Trust Company in Iowa City. "We're also excited about building support for the new Educational Resource Center, which will bring even more people to the museum and increase the public's access to the arts."

Stephen Prokopoff, director of the UI Museum of Art, said the museum will start the center when the UI Foundation and Alumni Association move from the Alumni Center adjacent to the museum in early 1998. The Educational Resource Center will house interactive, on-line visual resources such as CD-ROM programs that allow a person to "pick up" a virtual piece of art and look at it from all angles.

"The Friends organization significantly increases our ability to reach out to the community and campus," Prokopoff said. He expects participants at the "Plum Blossoms" event will be "delighted and instructed" by the Kuniyoshi prints. "They're absolutely beautiful, full of excitement and adventure," Prokopoff said.

The work of Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi (1798-1861), a popular and prolific printmaker in Japan, reflects many of the artistic and social changes that altered urban Japanese life. The Kuniyoshi prints currently on exhibit depict warrior or Samurai stories and evoke such Western tales as Robin Hood and King Arthur.

Individuals and families who make gifts to the museum are recognized as Friends of the UI Museum of Art by the University of Iowa Foundation. The UI Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff work with alumni, friends and businesses to provide program enhancement, scholarships and other forms of support for the UI.