Ox-Bow and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
(SAIC) announced a $1,000,000 gift from the LeRoy Neiman Foundation to support Ox-Bow, the Saugatuck, Michiganbased school of art and artists' residency currently celebrating its 100-year anniversary as an internationally renowned haven for visual artists, writers, and scholars. The LeRoy Neiman Scholarship Fund at Ox-Bow will provide student scholarships and support Ox-Bow's Fellowship Program, which provides studio space and funding for 12 to 14 students from art schools across the country to spend their summer at Ox-Bow. Neimana world-famous artist known for his images of athletes, sporting events, and sociological settingsand his wife Janet are alumni of both SAIC and Ox-Bow.
"Ox-Bow has been a retreat from hectic city life for over one hundred years. Such a retreat has never been more needed than it is now in the 21st Century with all its incredible technologies," say LeRoy and Janet Neiman. "Now more than ever we should appreciate the great luxury of creating art in nature and making that opportunity available for the generations now and in the future."
"LeRoy and Janet Neiman's remarkably generous contribution to create the LeRoy Neiman Scholarship will go a long way in ensuring that talented artists from all over the world have opportunities to explore, discover, and create at Ox-Bow," says Jason Kalajainen, Ox-Bow executive director. "Just as LeRoy and many other distinguished Ox-Bow alumni have enriched our cultural landscape, we are committed to providing a similar, seminal experience to young developing artists in the century to come. The Neiman's gift will help Ox-Bow to do just that."
"LeRoy Neiman has been intimately involved with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Ox-Bow for many yearsas a student, then a faculty member, and now as a wonderful benefactor with his wife Janet, herself an alumna of SAIC," adds Tony Jones, SAIC chancellor. "LeRoy is particularly sensitive to what Ox-Bow offers to the working artist, and comments often on the productive time he spent there and how the bucolic serenity of that special place was crucial to his development as a painter. These generous scholarships are especially significant as they are a gift from one remarkable artist to many young artists. Because of the Neimans' gift they'll be able to study at this unique open-air studio for many years to come."
Founded on the shores of Lake Michigan as an escape from the city, Ox-Bow's campus encompasses 115-acres of pristine natural forests, dunes, a lagoon and historic buildings, including studios, residences and support facilities. Through its affiliation with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Ox-Bow offers one and two-week courses for credit and non-credit for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students of all ages in Ceramics, Glass, Painting and Drawing, Paper and Book , Printmaking and Metals, as well as a variety of other media.
The LeRoy Neiman Foundation was instrumental in Ox-Bow successfully completing its $4 million Campaign for the Second Century. Initially launched in 2007 in celebration of Ox-Bow's 2010 centennial, the Campaign has been led by Ox-Bow Chairman of the Board Todd Warnock. Additional major contributors to the campaign include Pleasant Rowland Foundation, Frey Foundation, Todd and Liz Warnock, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Capital raised through the Campaign for the Second Century has helped to construct a new campus residence, build a state-of-the-art works on paper studio, and create a visiting artist guesthouse. Additionally, funds are being used to establish endowments for student scholarships and campus preservation. Currently, Ox-Bow awards approximately $200,000 in scholarship funding to almost 200 students annually, including many SAIC students.
Best known for his brilliantly colored, stunningly energetic images of sporting events and other scenes of popular culture and public life, LeRoy Neiman is one of the most popular living artists in the United States. Neiman's signature artistic style is familiar to a remarkably broad spectrum of Americans. He was the official artist at five Olympiads. Neiman met his wife Janet while a teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and he went on to teach at SAIC for 12 years early in his career. His images of what he calls "the good life" have appeared across many artistic media, in the form of etchings, lithographs, silkscreen prints, sculptures, and paintings. His oeuvre is represented in the permanent collections of public and private museums and other institutions worldwide. These institutional acquisitions, along with sales of approximately 150,000 of his silkscreen prints to individuals, attest to the enormous appeal of his work.
This newly established LeRoy Neiman Scholarship at Ox-Bow follows a 2005 endowment gift to SAIC of $3 million from the LeRoy Neiman Foundation for scholarships at SAIC. Sixty SAIC students have already benefited from these LeRoy Neiman Scholarships. In conjunction with this endowment gift, Neiman taught master class sessions in figure drawing in 2005 and 2006 for talented Chicago high school students, several of whom have gone on to enroll as undergraduate students at SAIC.
A member of the New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs since 1995, Neiman has received four honorary degreesincluding one from SAIC in 2006and, among other honors, an Award of Merit from the American Athletic Union (1976), a Gold Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement (1977), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (1986). He resides in New York City.