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Release: Immediate

Mercantile Bank sponsors West Branch Hoover Elementary for WOW! program

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Mercantile Bank of Iowa City has recently added West Branch's Hoover Elementary to the roster of schools participating in the University of Iowa Museum of Art's annual Widen Our World (WOW!) enrichment program.

Now in its ninth year, WOW! is intended to introduce third-grade art students to art and the museum as a life-long resource for learning and enjoyment. Emphasizing the theme ART! AFRICA! WOW!, this year's program -- taking place during March and April, 1999 -- will focus on artwork from "Kilengi: African Art from the Bareiss Collection," an international traveling exhibition of more than 240 objects that will be on view at the Museum of Art March 27 through May 23, 1999.

Works from the exhibition will be used to expose students to the artwork of another culture, while enhancing their awareness and appreciation of their own multi-cultural heritage.

Specially trained museum docents will be on hand to take the children, their teachers, school administrators, and parents and Mercantile Bank volunteers on one hour tours of the museum's current exhibitions.

WOW! is a collaboration of the UI Museum of Art, the Iowa City School District, Mercantile Bank and Knutson Construction Services, Inc. Participating students come from the Iowa City elementary schools, West Branch's Hoover Elementary, Regina Elementary and Willowwind School in Iowa City, and Lakeview Elementary in Solon.

Major WOW! funding has been provided by Mercantile Bank for student transportation, teacher training programs, WOW! Family Day events, publication of educational materials, a WOW! video and special mementos to be given to the students on the day of their museum visit. Knutson Mid-American Construction Services, Inc., fund participation of Lakeview Elementary.

Jodi Deike, public relations and event coordinator at Mercantile Bank, said, "Mercantile has always been a part of the WOW! program. We find it a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about art and culture and to experience all that the UI Museum of Art has to offer. The museum has always done a wonderful job making this program a complete success and we are proud to be a part of it."