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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 21, 2005

UI Museum Of Art Explores Invented 'Tradition' Nov. 5-March 12, 2006

The University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) will present "Crafting Tradition: Oaxacan Wood Carvings," an exhibition that explores the economic and cultural impact of the recently invented "tradition" of painted wood carvings, Nov. 5 through March 12, 2006.

The exhibition will feature more than 50 contemporary woodcarvings, many specially commissioned by the museum. It was organized by Michael Chibnik, chair of the UI department of anthropology and noted economic anthropologist.

The UIMA will present two special events in conjunction with the exhibition: "Members' Night: Mexican Marketplace and Fiesta," for members of the museum from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec 2; and "Family Day: Mexican Fiesta," a free public event from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec 3. Wood carvers from Oaxaca will be demonstrating wood carving and selling their work at both events.

Guided tours of the exhibition are available by calling UIMA Director of Education Dale Fisher at 319-335-3232.

In the past three decades, the woodcarvings created by artisans in the Mexican state of Oaxaca have been popular with collectors, galleries and museums. The sale of ethnic and tourist art is an increasingly important source of income in many communities in Latin America.

"These brightly painted, whimsical creations are visually appealing to both art connoisseurs and the wider audience that appreciates handmade crafts exemplifying Mexican culture," said Chibnik.

"Crafting Tradition" and related programming are supported by Iowa State Bank and Trust.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

Anyone wishing to attend "Members' Night: Mexican Marketplace and Fiesta" may do so by becoming a member of the museum. Please contact Buffie Tucker, coordinator for the UIMA Members Council, at or 319-353-2847.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web. IFor information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,; Writer: Zorana Wortham-White.

PHOTOS are available at

OTHER INFORMATION: "Oaxacan" is pronounced "wah-HAH-kahn."