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University of Iowa News Release


June 20, 2007

UI's Belin-Blank Center Hosts Reception For Gifted Young Visual Artists June 22

The next Picasso or Van Gogh could be discovered on the University of Iowa campus, thanks to a new Visual Arts Institute organized by the University of Iowa's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted and Talent Development.

The public is invited to view paintings and sketches created by an estimated 14 gifted young visual artists from across the state of Iowa and several other states at an art show and reception from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 22, on the third floor of the Blank Honors Center on the University of Iowa campus. Prior to the show, there will be a closing ceremony for students and families, which will include presentations and the awarding of certificates.

The art show is the culmination of the second session of the Visual Arts Institute that drew together artistically talented students from across the state of Iowa as well as other states to participate in the institute.

The Visual Arts Institute offers two consecutive, one-week residential summer programs at the UI for artistically talented students who are in 10th through 12th grades. The two sessions are offered in two-dimensional art such as painting and sketching. The first session was June 11-15, and the second session is June 18-22.

The institute offers artists with an intensive and advanced studio experience designed to enhance their creative and artistic growth, according to Jan Warren, administrator of student programs for the Belin-Blank Center. Each student receives a $475 scholarship to cover the majority of the cost of the institute. Scholarships are made possible by a generous, $1 million gift made in 2005 to the UI Foundation from Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan of Colorado.

"Mary's generosity and caring for the arts has opened some wonderful doors for artistic young adults," said Nicholas Colangelo, director of the Belin-Blank Center.

This gift expands the Belin-Blank Center's outreach to embrace the arts as well as academics.

"When most people think of giftedness, they think of students who are gifted in math or science," Warren said, "but this helps create awareness that students may be gifted in other areas such as the visual or performance arts."

Warren noted that the Belin-Blank Center also identifies talented and gifted students in other creative arts such as leadership, inventiveness and creative writing.

To be accepted into the Visual Arts Institute, students must submit a portfolio of their artwork, two letters of recommendation, including at least one from an art teacher, and an essay on what they hope to gain by attending the institute.

"This is a different way of identifying gifted students than many people think of, which is through standardized tests and other measurements," Warren said.

Warren said this institute is also important in building a sense of community among gifted young artists so they can meet other students who share their passions and talents.

"The arts are also not always a terribly well funded area and so the Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan Scholarship Fund creates an affordable opportunity for these students to pursue their interests," Warren said.

Instructors include Codi Josephson and Rebecca Ringquist. Josephson is originally from Montana, but she moved to Iowa to attend Cornell College. After graduating from Cornell, she taught high school art for two years, and for the past six years she has been working at an arts-focused youth center in Iowa City. She commonly explores ideas with a variety of materials including painting, printing, textiles and most recently sculptural book forms.

Ringquist is a Chicago-based artist whose stitched drawings and installations present layers of found and created imagery and text. Ringquist currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the department of Fiber and Material Studies and is director of Textiles and Screenprinting at Lillstreet Art Center on Chicago's Northside.

Students participating in the 2007 Visual Arts Institute come from as far away as Colorado as well as towns and cities across the state, including Fort Doge, Dubuque, Mount Vernon, Cedar Rapids and Knoxville.

For more information on the Visual Arts Institute, contact Jan Warren at 319-335-6148, send e-mail to or visit

The UI College of Education's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development is part of the UI College of Education. For more information on the Belin-Blank Center, visit

For more information on the Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan Scholarship Fund and the Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan Fund for Excellence in the Visual Arts, visit or contact Jaye Kennedy, the UI Foundation's director of development for the Belin-Blank Center, at 319-335-3305 or

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information, visit the foundation's Web site at

EDITOR'S NOTE: Members of the media are invited to the reception from 2:30 to 3:30 Friday, June 22 to get photos or footage of the artists and their works or to interview them.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

CONTACTS: Jan Warren, Belin-Blank Center, 319-335-6148,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,