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November / December 2005 Newsletter

The Art of The Stamp A Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition December 9, 2005 - February 26, 2006

The Midwest Museum of American Art is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition entitled, The Art of The Stamp. This exhibition offers a behind-the-scenes looks at the creation of several high-profile stamps as well as an opportunity to view rarely displayed original artwork. Smaller than a painting, tinier than a business card, a successful stamo must depict an event, personality, or aspect of nature or culture in less than two square inches and be indentifiable in two seconds. That's the design challenge for the artists and illustrators who create the artwork for approximately 80 American stamps each year. The Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee comprised of 15 members sort through some 50,000 proposals each year, evaluating, recommending, and ultimately selecting postage subjects and stamp designs.

The Art of The Stamp exhibition highlights more than 100 pieces of original artwork, created from the 1960s to the present, by 52 professional illustrators and designers. Many of these works have never been viewed outside the United States Postal service's archives, including pieces by notable artists such as Norman Rockwell, Peter Max, Robert Indiana, and Al Hirschfeld. A variety of media will be represented since stamps are generally created on smaller than average canvases by gifted artists who work in oil, watercolor, acrylic, pencil, and mixed media. The introduction of offset printing in 1960 also encouraged a broader range of artistic approaches than traditional engraving. Preliminary sketches and background material show the complexity of the stamp design process. In some cases, various concepts of the same subject are presented, either created by the same artist, such as "Breast Cancer" by Whitney Sherman, or by different artists depicting the same subject, such as Elvis Presley.

The Art of The Stamp will be on view at the Midwest Museum of American Art for an 11-week period. This exhibition is sponsored by the Elkhart County Community Foundation, National City Bank, Christiana Graham of Fullerton, California, and the Genesis Program of the City of Elkhart.

Members and Guests are invited to a Holiday Open House for The Art of The Stamp Saturday, December 10th 1:00 to 4:00pm

Special Holiday Lecture

on the Art of Stamp Cachets

Sunday Afternoon, December 11 th

Gary Bennett, a well known Elkhart Art Educator and Graphic Designer, will discuss his career as a Cachet Artist. For the past 20 years, Bennett, who has collected stamps since age seven, has designed limited edition cachets (a French term meaning "picture") on envelopes which he in turn attaches a unique stamp to. The envelopes (often no more than seven in an edition) are then mailed to locales to be hand-cancelled by the are's postmaster. In the world of philatelic activity, these are considered highly collectible when and if they reach the public market. In essence, Bennett has had his art circulated around the world. For Bennett, it has been a lifelong passion to create art which relates to his passion for collecting stamps. The artist will discuss this unique artform on Sunday, December 11th at 2:00pm in the museum's Main Gallery. The lecture is FREE and open to the public.

Viktor Schreckengost

National Centennial Exhibition

The Midwest Museum of American Art will participate in a nationwide celebration of the 100 year old American Deigner Viktor Schreckengost as over one hundred institutions begin exhibiting works from collections, both public and private, starting in December 2005 through December 2006. Born in 1906 and a native of Cleveland, Ohio, Schreckengost is considered to be a pioneer in industrial design. He has created thousands of products since the 1930s which almost every American has ridden in, drank out of, stored their things in, eaten off of, mowed their lawn with, placed a call with, cooled their room with, or read about to name but a few.

The Midwest Museum will showcase a unique toy pedal plane designed by Schreckengost for the Murray Company in 1941. The "Pursuit Plane" pedal toy will be on loan from December 1st, 2005 until March 26th, 2006 from David and Denise Sanders of the Pedal Power Museum in Elkhart. The Sanders have long been known as one of the largest pedal car collectors in America and have graciously agreed to loan this wonderfully nostalgic object to the Midwest Museum for this auspicious event.

New Sponsor for Family Free Day

The Midwest Museum whishes to thank Robert & Peggy Weed for becoming the new sponsor for Sunday Family Free Day. Robert and Peggy Weed are to be commended for continuing to expand their support of the arts in Elkhart. Many Thanks!

Year End Report.....from the Director:

On behalf of the Staff & Trustees, I thank you for your continued support of the Midwest Museum of American Art. The museum continues to grow in membership at all levels and that is the heartbeat of any organization. Our expectations and added related activities have made us a stand-out as one of the leading museums in the state and region.

The Midwest Museum of American Art published a catalogue of the permanent collection which lists the artworks as well as the donors. We have added almost 100 new pieces in 2005 which brings our collection to over 2000 works.

I ask that all of you remember the Midwest Museum at year's end with an additional gift of either a cash donation or appreciated securities. With increased competition for private dollars, I can't stress enough the importance of your monetary support. In Elkhart, there is a growing public interest in art and culture and I feel that the Midwest Museum of American Art has been at the forefront to foster the general public's desire for these offerings. Your support is vital and I thank you all for making the Midwest Museum a wonderful entity in our area. ~Jane Burns, Director


*The Midwest Museum of American Art gratefully acknowledges gifts in honor or in memory of special friends. Notes of acknowledgment are sent by the Museum to those honored or to the families of those memorialized. Recent memorials include:

In Memory Of

Jim Bates (by Christiana Graham)

John DeWeese (by Christiana Graham)

Bee Bissell (by Mary Gosling, Mr. & Mrs. H. William Petersen)

John Royden Harman (by Christiana Graham, Paul & Betty Thomas)

Harold A. "Bud" Borneman (by Byron Brady, Jane Burns, Tom & Dot Corson, Christiana Graham, Allen Norris & Betty Plunkett, Paul & Betty Thomas)

Dorsa Mishler (by Jane Burns)

Harriet Parmater (by John & Diane Holderman)

Jeffrey Russo (by Jane Burns)

June Conner (by READ-A-BIT Club of Middlebury, Marge Farr, Tina Weldy)

Peter Shelly (by Jane Burns)

Paul Wolfe (by Paul & Betty Thomas)

Library Fund In Honor of Jeanne Batten (by Ken & Kathy Zienty)

Jane Burns In Honor of her Birthday (by Ken & Kathy Zienty, Carolyn J. Keefe)

In Honor of Rick & Cindy Burns (by Verna Brinson)



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