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Release: Feb. 28, 2001

UI Museum of Art breaks attendance records at Feb. 25 'WOW! Family Day'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art set a new record for single-day attendance last Sunday, Feb. 25 during the museum’s annual "WOW! Family Day." Total attendance for the day was 1,336, which eclipsed the previous record of 1,270, set on April 19, 1998, which was also "WOW! Family Day."

The museum is currently showing "Lure of the West, Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum," a popular exhibition that has been attracting large audiences since its opening. "Lure of the West" will be on display at the museum through March 18.

Previous high attendance dates at the museum have been:

-- 1,270 on April 19, 1998, "WOW! Family Day" during the popular exhibition "Victorian Fairy Painting";

-- 1,077 on Feb. 28, 1998, the opening of "Victorian Fairy Painting,"

-- 1,013 on Sept. 29, 1996, during the showing of "Plain Pictures: Images of the American Prairie"; and

-- 1,046 on Jan. 14, 1989, the opening of "Art of the Red Earth People: The Meskwaki of Iowa."

Family Day is the culmination of the museum’s WOW! program, which brings third-grade students from the Iowa City area into the museum. This year, more than 1,500 students from 24 local schools visited the UI Museum of Art through the WOW! program.

"Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" features 64 important paintings and sculptures from the 1820s through the 1940s by American artists fascinated with Indian and Hispanic cultures and the majestic landscapes of the western territories. The artworks, which celebrate the landscape and pay tribute to Native Americans and their cultures, served to establish American art and its subject matter as new and exciting to audiences worldwide.

WOW! is a collaboration among the Museum of Art, the Iowa City Community School District and Firstar Bank, Iowa City. Participating students come from the Iowa City Community School District, Regina Elementary and Willowwind School in Iowa City, Lakeview Elementary in Solon, Johnson School of the Arts in Cedar Rapids, Herbert Hoover Elementary in West Branch, Clear Creek Elementary in Oxford and Amana Elementary in Middle Amana.

"Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" is one of eight exhibitions in "Treasures to Go," touring the nation through 2002. The Principal Financial Group is a proud partner in presenting these treasures to the American people.

Programs and exhibitions at the Museum of Art are supported in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Local sponsors of "Lure of the West" include Meskwaki Bingo/Casino/Hotel, the Gazette family of companies, Humanities Iowa, Tru Art Color Graphics, the Iowa Arts Council, and the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.