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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 5, 2007

Image: Art© Elizabeth Catlett/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Works by UI alumna Elizabeth Catlett will be at UI Museum of Art

"I Am: Prints by Elizabeth Catlett," a selection of 27 prints by the renowned artist and UI alumna, will be on view Oct. 20 through Jan. 6, 2008 at the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA).

Included in the exhibition is a portfolio of six prints inspired by the poem "For My People" by Margaret Walker, an alumna of the Iowa Writers' Workshop who was Catlett's roommate at the UI. In conjunction with the exhibition, UI theater student Makeba Henry will read selections from Walker's writings at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, in the UIMA.

Catlett, who studied under Grant Wood, was the first student to receive a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the UI in 1940. Her overtly political works chronicle the stories and experiences of African-Americans and Mexicans, especially women and children.

"Catlett's work is full of love and tenderness and also, in a way, of sorrow for the past and fear for the future," said Kathleen Edwards, curator of European and American Art at the UIMA.

While visiting Catlett in Cuernavaca, Mexico during the summer of 2006, Edwards selected a group of 27 prints to purchase for the UIMA collection, including several rare impressions. These prints join "Sharecropper" from 1968 at the UIMA, and the bronze sculpture "Stepping Out" from 2000, located in the entry lobby of the renovated Iowa Memorial Union.

The print acquisition was supported by the Edwin B. Green American Art Acquisition Endowment. In turn, Catlett donated the purchase price of the prints to the University of Iowa Foundation to create a scholarship fund at the UI School of Art and Art History. The Elizabeth Catlett Mora Scholarship Fund will benefit undergraduate and graduate printmaking students who are African American or Latino.

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1915, Catlett went to Mexico City on a fellowship in 1946, drawing inspiration for her early work from the populist murals of Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. She eventually settled in Mexico, embarking on a career that would cement her as one of the most celebrated living African-American artists. She has received a Lifetime Achievement award in Contemporary Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center in addition to many other accolades.

Walker studied creative writing at the UI and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the university in 1940. She returned for her doctorate in 1965. Her work has been widely celebrated; she has won the Yale Younger Poets award for "For My People," and her novel "Jubilee" has received great critical acclaim.

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

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.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.


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 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),