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HPU Receives Art Donations From Local Families

09.30.2009

HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 30, 2009 – High Point University wants to ensure that students receive a well-rounded education, so the addition of art collections adds the perfect touch of color to campus. Now, thanks to generous donations of art from Robert Brown, Harrison Rucker, Darrel Sechrest, and Betsy and Joe Byerly, students have multiple examples of paintings and artifacts from around the world.
 
Rucker, a full-time painter for more than 30 years who has been featured in art publications, won awards in competitive exhibitions and participated in museum shows, recently donated 12 portraits of United States presidents. The portraits are on display in Smith Library.
“The paintings start with Franklin Roosevelt,” Rucker says. “I had painted six presidents 30 years ago when Richard Nixon was president. … I did them as an example of portraiture; they are all in black and white.”
 
Back then, Rucker, who studied painting at the Cleveland Institute of Art, had no plans to display the portraits of the presidential figures. He says he really painted them for himself. Then about two years ago, he decided he needed to update the group of presidents, bringing his collection up to George W. Bush. “These are the presidents I have known in my lifetime,” he says. “I consider these the modern presidents.”
 
Betsy and Joe Byerly recently donated reverse-glass paintings of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin; the works were created 1830-50. The paintings are on display in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication library.
 
The age-old technique of reverse painting on glass has been considered a popular “art of the people” for many centuries. Well-executed reverse-glass paintings do not reveal the complexity of their manufacture. Since the designs are applied to the back of glass panes, they must be built up in reverse, starting with the detail and working to the outline.
 
HPU First Lady Mariana Qubein, who worked with HPU Sechrest Gallery Curator Maxine Campbell to process the Sechrest collection, says Sechrest donated four reproductions of cave paintings by Vivian Robinson, a local artist. The paintings are on display in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication.
 
“An early form of communication, these paintings are reproductions of early cave paintings found in Lascaux, France, from the Magdalenian period ? around 17,000 B.C.,” Qubein explains. “They are a fine example of how art was used for communication.”
 
Additional art pieces by Robinson feature other forms of communication and technology.
 
The collection donated from Brown includes paintings and artifacts from around the world.
 
“We have divided it into several collections,” Qubein says. “We have Asian art and a few artifacts on display in the School of Communication building; we will have African art in the University Center; and abstract art will soon be placed in the Plato S. Wilson School of Commerce.”
 
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in a fun environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students from 50 countries and 44 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report No. 5 among comprehensive universities in the South and No. 1 in its category among up-and-coming schools. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 6 percent among “America?s Best Colleges.” HPU was included in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” 2009 listings. The university offers 68 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and seven graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at www.highpoint.edu.
Chris DudleyVice President for Administration336-841-4530cdudley@highpoint.edu

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