Resident Artist program will begin in 2009

By and

The College of Fine Arts is starting a new program to hire nationally acclaimed artists to teach at the U for one to two years at a time. Marva and John Warnock are funding the program with a $1 million grant.

“They’ll be bringing in a new Warnock artist every one to two years,” said Shaleane Gee, executive director of development for the College of Fine Arts. “The artist will have a teaching appointment, probably mentor a group of student artists and give a couple public lectures while they’re here.”

The program is unique because most artists who agree to residency programs stay only for a few days or weeks. Artists brought in for the program will have supplies and a place to work at the U for a longer period of time. The visiting artist will also mentor graduate and possibly undergraduate programs on new techniques and styles of design.

“Artists usually take a residency position and secrete themselves in a studio,” said Elizabeth Peterson, chair of the art and art history department. “It’s typically a place where someone can go to advance their exhibition, not work with students.”

The first visiting artist will start working at the U in the Fall of 2009.

“The reputation of the artist will be important for students,” Peterson said. “The experience and work of the artist will help raise the caliber of the student’s work.”

The program isn’t looking for a specific artist yet, but is focusing on artists who are nationally renowned and who have had experience teaching. Visiting artists will work with students from every department within the college.

Students will benefit from having a noted artist to work with and influence them, said David Dee, director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

The endowment gift came as a surprise to the college.

“It’s an extraordinary gift that will have a huge impact on the studio arts programs,” said Raymond Tymas-Jones, dean of the College of Fine Arts, who received the unexpected phone call.

The endowment funding will allow for the residency artist program to continue hiring new artists.

The Warnocks have donated almost $11 million to the U, primarily for the engineering program. The new engineering building on campus is named after them. Marva Warnock is a member of the leadership council with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

“Marva is a huge fan of the museum,” Dee said. “My impression of why the Warnocks donated this money is that as she and her husband became more aware of the programs available with studio arts, they thought it would be a good idea. It’s an exciting moment when a donor sees how to make a big impact like this.”

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