UI School of Art and Art History event celebrates Midwest's rich printmaking history


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Printmaking has been around in the United States for more than 200 years. For the past 50, the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History’s printmaking program has been ranked among the best in the country.

This weekend, Art and Art History will celebrate the history of printmaking by hosting a two-day event, including a world première of the documentary Midwest Matrix, a symposium that includes lectures, a panel, a printmaking workshop, student demonstrations and exhibitions, as well as an Iowa Print Fair featuring visiting artists’ works.

For the past seven years, Susan Goldman — the director of Maryland-based print studio Lily Press — has worked on the Midwest Matrix, a collection of interviews of different generations of artists and educators who have taken part in building art facilities around the Midwest.

Goldman said Iowa was the perfect place to première her documentary, because it sets the tone with its successful art school.

“Iowa is where a lot of it began,” she said. “It’s one of the most significant areas for art education from after World War II to the present.”

Eighty-seven-year-old Indiana University printmaking Professor Rudy Pozzatti will be the event’s keynote speaker and will carry out a printmaking workshop on Saturday with the symposium participants.

Anita Jung, a UI printmaking professor and one of the two coordinators of the event, said the celebration is formed as a tribute to the history of printmaking and printmaking artists such as Pozzatti.

“We still have some of these people with us,” she said. “You can still get a firsthand narrative, which is better than doing research.”

Goldman, who attended Indiana University and studied under Pozzatti, said one of the main ideas behind her documentary was to instill appreciation in students who study in Midwestern art facilities.

“When I was still a student, I didn’t realize how important my education was,” she said. “And, I just want others to realize the importance of their background and education.”

Although the event is organized as a première for Goldman’s documentary *Midwest Matrix,* Jung said the symposium was added to spark discussion.

“We wanted people to talk about [printmaking] rather than just view the film,” she said.

Art Professor Joni Kinsey, who will be one of the four speakers on the panel Saturday night, will present her *A New Deal for Printmaking in the Midwest*, which focuses on the history of American printmaking programs that aimed to put artists back to work during the Depression.

She said art programs established during the Depression, such as the Federal Arts Project, helped qualified, yet out-of-work, artists make a living while making art for America. The Graphic Arts Division of the program focused on printmakers, she said.

“After that program closed in 1943, they basically gave away the thousands of prints that had been made, and a hundred of them were given to the University of Iowa,” she said. “The program gave the art away to make it accessible to the American public and make it a part of American life.”

Kinsey’s presentation will highlight the prints in the UI collection, which includes lithographs, serigraphs, and etchings.

 “Next year, they’re going to be put on display in a traveling expedition that will travel the state of Iowa,” she said.

Midwest Matrix/Symposium
8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday
Art Building West
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2   
Studio Arts Building

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