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UT Tyler Cowan Center Unveils Chihuly Artwork and Box Office Addition

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September 5, 2012

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

September 5, 2012

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.566.7303 or 903.330.0495 (cell)

The University of Texas at Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center has acquired a piece of art from renowned artist Dale Chihuly, Susan Thomae-Morphew, executive director, announced.

DALE CHIHULY Bonfire Fiori, 2008, 85” x 33” x 37” was unveiled Tuesday, Sept. 4 during a reception. The acquisition was made possible through the support of the UT Tyler Alumni Foundation and Cowan Center President’s Circle.

“We are thrilled to unveil a new piece of art,” Thomae-Morphew said. “This is the first acquisition since the James Surls exhibition at the opening of the Cowan Center, and we thank Mrs. Frances Cowan Gibson for her support in that purchase. Fifteen years later, the UT Tyler Alumni Foundation generously funded a Chihuly of our choice to commemorate their service to the university and to be enjoyed by students, patrons and visitors forevermore.”

Chihuly is an American artist whose work in glass led to a resurgence of interest in that medium. A native of Tacoma, Wash., he holds a master of fine arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked at a renowned glassblowing workshop in Italy. Chihuly established the glassblowing program at his alma mater and founded the Pilchuck Glass School. A car accident in 1976 left him blind in one eye.

His work is featured in permanent collections all over the world including 26 states, Canada, England, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

“This Chihuly, to my knowledge, is the only public piece in this region. His work is so magnificent that people can always tell you where they first saw one of his works. The Tyler Museum of Art featured a Chihuly exhibition in 2000, and it was so well-received that many East Texans bought pieces for their homes. We look forward to carrying the torch and sharing his work with more patrons and visitors.”

The UT Tyler Alumni Foundation also provided some of the funding to add a lobby to the existing Cowan Center box office. Funding also was provided by the UT Tyler Cowan Center Circle members.

“The box office lobby is long overdue and will serve our patrons well by keeping them in a climate-controlled space. We rejoice in being able to provide better service thanks to our Circle members and the Alumni Foundation” she said.

Recognizing the importance of both additions, the UT Tyler Cowan Center is forever grateful to the Alumni Foundation, representing the 30,000 UT Tyler alumni members, and the Cowan Center President’s Circle, she added.

UT Tyler Alumni Foundation board members who are responsible for making this gift are Michael Collins, Janet Fair, Dawn Franks, Roy Martinez, Gary Swindle and Patrick D. Willis.

President’s Circle members are Mrs. David Braithwaite, Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Brookshire, Mr. Jeff Buford, Mrs. Joyce Buford, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Chase, Dr. and Mrs. James R. Cotton, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Faulconer, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Grinstead, Mr. and Mrs. B.G. Hartley, Mr. and Mrs. Robert B. Irwin, Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Montgomery, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Z. Ornelas, Dr. and Mrs. William Pirtle, Mr. and Mrs. Lanier, Mrs. Robyn Rogers, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Shtofman and Mrs. Eleanor Stringer.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

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