Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

August 25, 2008

Opening Exhibit to Showcase Whitworth University's New Center for the Visual Arts

Whitworth to publish book featuring works from the university's permanent art collection;
On Oct. 2, artist Tom O'Day to exhume 30 artworks buried on campus in 1988

Whitworth University's opening art exhibit – the first exhibit in the new Ernst F. Lied Center for the Visual Arts – is "Old Bones and a New Vernacular: Whitworth Permanent Collection," which will feature prominent works from the Whitworth Permanent Collection and new acquisitions. The exhibit will take place Sept. 9-Oct. 19 in the Bryan Oliver Gallery, Room 201 of the Ernst F. Lied Center for the Visual Arts at Whitworth. An opening reception will be held Tuesday, Sept. 9, from 5-7 p.m.

Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (gallery hours will be extended on Saturday, Oct. 4, to 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. for the grand opening of the visual-arts center). Admission to all events is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3258. For the visual-arts center's campus location, view the Whitworth Campus Map (the center is #30).

The Ernst F. Lied Center for the Visual Arts, Whitworth's new, 20,000-square-foot visual-arts building, will open for classes on Sept. 3, 2008. In addition to new classrooms, the building features two galleries, six studios for a variety of disciplines, and interior view corridors as well as exterior views to the center of campus and toward the mountains to the north.

In conjunction with the "Old Bones and a New Vernacular" exhibit, Whitworth is in the process of publishing a book showcasing significant pieces in Whitworth's permanent art collection, which are also the focus of the opening exhibit. The book will be given to donors to the art building and will be available for viewing by prospective art students, patrons and gallery visitors.

To mark the transition from the former fine-arts building to the new visual-arts center, Whitworth will hold an art dig, "Exhume: A Twenty-Year Installation by Thomas O'Day, 1988-2008," on Thursday, Oct. 2. Twenty years ago, O'Day buried 30 artworks outside Whitworth's fine-arts building. On Oct. 2 at 8 p.m., Ben Mitchell, curator of art for the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, will give a short talk, and then O'Day will exhume the pieces. He plans to reassemble them over the winter for a spring exhibit in the Bryan Oliver Gallery at Whitworth; the exhibit will run Feb. 17 - April 3, 2009.

Immediately after the dig, O'Day will invite attending guests to join him at his off-campus studio for an after-dig party. Admission to both events is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3258.

The Ernst F. Lied Center is named in recognition of a $2 million gift made to the project from the late Nevada real-estate developer and philanthropist's Lied Foundation Trust, which is administered by Lied's longtime associate Christina Hixson. In addition, incoming chairman of Whitworth's board of trustees Walter Oliver, '67, and his wife, Shirley, '77, have pledged up to $1 million for the building; the main gallery is named in honor of their late son, Bryan. The student gallery and foyer area are named for the Cowles family in recognition of a $500,000 gift from The Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. 


Dee Anna Christiansen, art department program assistant, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3258 or dchristiansen@whitworth.edu.

Meagan Stirling, lecturer and art gallery director, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4564 or mstirling@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, senior writer for marketing and development, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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