Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 20, 2006

Gift Helps Establish Contemporary Art Lecture Series

A new annual University of Guelph lecture focused on contemporary art has been created through a generous endowment provided by Dasha Shenkman, a Canadian art collector who has lived in the United Kingdom for 40 years. Shenkman has long been committed to the development of young artists and has been involved with a number of arts-oriented organizations, either at board level or as a consultant, said John Kissick, director of the School of Fine Art and Music.

“Dasha’s gift will allow the University to bring in five speakers over the next five years who can speak eloquently about contemporary art and contemporary culture in a way that will have ramifications for young artists,” said Kissick. “This significant endowment is a testament to her compelling vision of creating a yearly point of access to internationally renowned figures in contemporary art for Guelph students at a critical time in their development. We are sincerely grateful for the endowment and her extraordinary commitment to the Guelph program."

The inaugural Shenkman Lecture will be delivered by Michael Craig-Martin, an internationally renowned conceptual artist and a visionary teacher, March 13 at 5 p.m. in War Memorial Hall.

“Michael Craig-Martin was one of the pivotal figures in the Cool Britannia movement in the United Kingdom in the late ’80s, early ’90s,” said Kissick. “He’s never spoken in Canada before, so this is an exciting opportunity for both the U of G community and artists and art lovers outside of Guelph.”

“We are absolutely thrilled with this generous gift,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee. “Not only will our students benefit from getting to spend time with highly successful artists, but this also helps put the University of Guelph on the map as a leading institution of contemporary art.”

Said Shenkman: “I am a Canadian and I care about Canada. Having lived in the United Kingdom for a good many years, I have seen a breadth of culture both here and elsewhere. This series is an opportunity for students at the University of Guelph, which boasts one of the best fine art programs in Canada, to be exposed to new thoughts and ideas that will encourage them to look and think with maximum creativity.”

Prof. Robert Enright, the editor-at-large of Border Crossings magazine, will publish Craig-Martin’s lecture in the well-known Canadian art magazine.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519 824- 4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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