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Release: March 12, 1999

Annual WOW program will bring third-grade students to the UI Museum of Art

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More than 1,200 third-grade students from 22 local schools will visit the University of Iowa Museum of Art in March and April through the "Widen our World" (WOW!) enrichment program.

WOW! is a collaboration among the Museum of Art, the Iowa City Community School District, Mercantile Bank, Knutson Construction Services and Cedar River Paper Company. Participating students will come from Iowa City elementary schools, as well as Regina Elementary, Willowind School, Lakeview Elementary in Solon, Herbert Hoover Elementary in West Branch and Cedar Rapid's Johnson School of the Arts.

Now in its ninth year, WOW! is intended to introduce students to art and art museums as a life-long resource for learning and enjoyment. By exposing children to art from many cultures, the museum hopes to deepen the children's appreciation of their own multi-cultural heritage.

Emphasizing this year's theme, ART! AFRICA! WOW!, the program will focus on artwork from "Kilengi: African Art from the Bareiss Family Collection," an international exhibition of more than 200 objects, including masks, figurines, ceramics, furniture and weapons, that will be on view at the UI Museum of Art from March 27 through May 23.

Other exhibitions coinciding with this year's WOW! program include "Baba Wague Diakite: African Folktales," an exhibition of vividly painted color-tile illustrations from two children's book that Diakite created, the exhibition "Monumentality in Miniature," which contains African miniature sculptures, and other works from the museum's permanent collection.

Specially trained museum docents, along with City High docents, will be on hand to take children, their teachers, school administrators, and parent and Mercantile Bank volunteers on one-hour tours of the museum's exhibitions.

The groundwork for these tours was laid by a teacher training in-service given in December by Christopher Roy, UI professor of African Art, and Vicki Rovine, UI Museum of Art curator of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.

Schools participating in the WOW! program will receive an educational packet, along with a video of Diakite telling African folktales, designed to prepare teachers and students for their visit to the museum. In addition, children will receive a follow-up activity book and a special memento on the day of their tour.

Major WOW! Funding has been provided by Mercantile Bank, with additional funding by Knutson Construction Services for Lakeview Elementary and Cedar River Paper Company for the Johnson School of the Arts.

For further information about the WOW! Program, call Emily Vermillion, curator of education at the UI Museum of Art at (319) 335-1730.