Mulvane Art Museum receives Kansas Arts Commission American Masterpieces Grant

Washburn University

TOPEKA — The Mulvane Art Museum has received a $10,000 Kansas American Masterpieces grant from the Kansas Arts Commission. The grant will support the Patrick Dougherty sculpture project and related public programs during November 2009. Patrick T. Dougherty, Chapel Hill, N.C., is internationally known for his unusual and dynamic sculptures built with tree saplings. During the past several decades Dougherty has built more than 200 sculptures all over the world. His signature woven sculptures, waving, willowy, whimsical and windblown-looking, tower over or fold into buildings, trees and other landscape elements. Born in Oklahoma in 1945 and raised in North Carolina, Dougherty earned a bachelor of arts from the University of North Carolina in 1967 and a master of arts in hospital and health administration from the University of Iowa in 1969. He returned to Chapel Hill in 1975, worked as a carpenter and stone mason while studying sculpture and art history at the University of Chapel Hill. The experience of building his own home in North Carolina and using the native materials at hand, saplings, has led him to use this readily available and renewable resource in his sculptures. Dougherty’s installations are in museums, parks and gardens throughout the United States, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, England, France, Denmark and Austria. His work explores the supple, linear energy of young tree saplings woven into natural, nest-like settings, with inventive references to architectural and sculptural forms and concepts of domestic shelter, habitats, passageways and vistas. He has received many honors and awards, including the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant, Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship and several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Dougherty’s work has been the subject of more than 100 articles and reviews in publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The project will offer extraordinary educational opportunities for people of all ages to learn about the artist, his creative process and a behind-the-scenes view of just how large-scale works are created. In addition to providing a broad cross section of the general public with the opportunity to meet and talk with Dougherty while he is in Topeka, numerous project inspired education programs and volunteer opportunities are planned.

In its first three years, the Kansas Arts Commission’s American Masterpieces program supported an exhibit of Native American quilt artists that toured throughout the state, education and access activities related to the “Aaron Douglas: African American Modernist” exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art, concerts and workshops by The Prairie Trio and a concert of American master works by the Topeka Symphony Orchestra. American Masterpieces Kansas is a project of the Kansas Arts Commission and is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The Mulvane Art Museum is located at 17th and Jewell Streets on the campus of Washburn University. Museum and ArtLab hours are Tuesday 10-7, Wednesday-Friday 10-5, Saturday and Sunday 1-4. Admission to the Museum and the ArtLab are free and open to the public. Free parking is located to the west of the Museum. For more information call 670-1124 or check our web site at