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Fine Arts

WSU University mace
Fall 2017

Fabric of the university

The ornate Washington State University mace, a convocation and commencement fixture, is perhaps the most widely recognizable of artist Tim Doebler’s creations.

But his artwork is interwoven throughout the University. Commemorative and recognition placards in building lobbies. A stone monument on Terrell Mall. Finely crafted tokens of appreciation awarded to University leaders and supporters.

“I see this as part of the fabric of the University,” says Doebler ’84 MFA, who is retiring in November after 38 years as an engineering technician with WSU’s fine arts department.

A Vietnam veteran and survivor of the bloody Easter offensive, Doebler returned to the States in 1972 and … » More …

Color My World thumb
Summer 2016

Color my worlds

An alumna artist brings out the kids in us

Tarah Luke felt like her hands would fall off after completing 120 pages in adult coloring books over five and a half weeks.

Luke ’05 didn’t color the pages, though. The Seattle-based artist designed and drew the images featured in the four books. The Eiffel Tower, a marching band, an octopus, and a movie camera are just a few examples from the series of themed volumes divided into places, music, animals, and inventions.

Luke’s collection is part of a growing national trend. Adult coloring books, usually featuring complex patterns within images, have become an increasingly popular … » More …

Winter 2014

In plain sight

Broken Arrow sits in the foyer of the Terrell Library. Thousands pass by it each week, most not realizing it is the work of artist Harold Balazs ’51, or that it was a gift from the Friel family whose lives entwined with the history of the school long after graduation.

Though he planned to be a teacher, Jack Friel ’23 started his 30-year career as the Cougars’ head basketball coach in 1928. As a student, he met Catherine (Matthews) Friel ’23, ’58 MAT in the original college library. They married a few years later and raised their family just a few blocks from campus. Three … » More …

Spokane fountain
Winter 2014

Art in public places

In the late sixties, Harold Balazs ’51 helped build a public arts tradition in our region. Along with several members of the Washington Arts Commission, including artist Jacob Lawrence, he created Washington’s Art in Public Places program. Starting in 1974, the program began directing one-half of one percent of all state building budgets toward purchasing contemporary art. The pieces would be owned by the state but could reside at the site of the project.

Having traveled in Spain and Italy, Balazs had realized that the United States could easily support more arts and culture. “Countries in Europe do so much more than one percent,” he … » More …

First Words
Winter 2014

Seeing and Knowing

“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled,” writes art critic and author John Berger in his 1970s Ways of Seeing.

Berger, a mainstay for students of art and Western culture, examines how a large part of what we see when we look at something depends on our habits and conventions, the things we think we know.

As men and women, Berger notes, we may see things differently. Our teachers, our books, even our communities tell us what we’re looking at and what it means. Children see things differently, again. Lacking preconceptions, they may recognize qualities in a work of … » More …

Fall 2014

Where the heart is

Ten years ago, artist Jim Dine left his heart in Pullman. The 12-foot-tall painted bronze sculpture called The Technicolor Heart—a blue beacon covered with ordinary items like hammers, shoes, clamps, and flashlights—has stirred conversation and controversy.

Now the world-famous sculptor and printmaker is giving Washington State University a whole collection of more than 200 prints representing his work from 1967 to 2011. Valued at over $1.8 million, this print donation will be the largest university museum collection of Dine prints in the world and one of the largest collections of his prints ever assembled.

Cincinnati native Dine grew up around his grandfather’s hardware store and … » More …