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Metropolitan State University of Denver Awarded $20,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

A group of children sit on the floor of a wood-framed and glass-clad structure. The children are interacting with colorful materials.
Ger Innovation Hub, Rural Urban Framework, University of Hong Kong, photo by Rural Urban Framework.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that Metropolitan State University of Denver has been awarded a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects grant supporting Design for the Common Good programming. This project supports the dissemination of public interest design best practices through a national conference, exhibition, and a digital archive.

MSU Denver’s project is among 1,248 projects across America totaling $28,840,000 that were selected to receive this first round of fiscal year 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category.

Part of the grant project includes the Design for the Common Good International Exhibition hosted at MSU Denver’s Center for Visual Art in Denver, Colorado. The exhibition opened on January 14, 2022 and runs through March 19, 2022. It is held in conjunction with the Structures for Inclusion conference hosted at MSU Denver on March 4 and 5, 2022 and will feature keynotes and panel discussions from project teams included in the exhibition. As part of the grant project, case studies will be developed from exhibition content creating a digital archive of public interest design practices to be hosted on the Design for the Common Good Network website.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Lisa M. Abendroth, Professor | Grant Project Director
Communication Design Program
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Office: 303-615-0102 | [email protected]

Portrait of Professor Lisa M. AbendrothProfessor Lisa M. Abendroth is the curator and organizer of the Design for the Common Good International Exhibition featured at MSU Denver’s Center for Visual Art from January 14 – March 19, 2022. Her research focuses on public interest design and the social, economic, and environmental impacts created with, and within, the contexts of underserved people, places, and problems. Her pedagogy is committed to community-led design practices that embolden access and equity. She is a SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) Network co-founder and co-editor of two books in Routledge’s Public Interest Design Guidebook series.

National Endowment for the Arts logo, Design for the Common Good International Exhibition logo

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Alumni Bob Harrell Donates Lerch Work

Bob Harrell, an alum from 1977, and his wife Kristin Kuhlman donated a painting by Harrell's uncle, Franz Lerch, an Austrian painter who left the country before the war because his wife was Jewish and he hated the Nazis. “Don’t ever return the painting to Austria.” That was the only stipulation Bob Harrell (pictured left) had for his recent donation of the Franz Lerch painting “Fishing Boats.” Lerch was an important figure in Austria’s Neue Sachlichkeit (New Realism wave) and happens to have been an uncle to MSU Denver alumnus Harrell. In the late 1930s, Lerch and his wife fled Austria due to his wife’s Jewish heritage, and the artist destroyed much of his work. Having witnessed the horrors of a Nazi-occupied nation, Lerch was adamant that his paintings never return to the country that had scorned his family. Now, Harrell and his wife Kristin Kullmann (right) are graciously entrusting MSU Denver with preserving “Fishing Boats,” one of the artist’s few remaining works, and honoring Lerch’s wishes. “I fully trust MSU Denver and the institution’s commitments to excellence, without reservation,” Harrell said. “Service and integrity are cornerstones which have enabled MSU Denver to build a sterling reputation and exhibit outstanding performance in the realm of higher education.” Soon, the colorful painting will hang in the Art Department conference room as part of a materials collection that was started by faculty in the Art History, Theory and Criticism program. “Art is a strong part of a culture’s history, and it is part of what shapes a culture’s values,” said Deanne Pytlinski, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of Art, who is excited at the opportunity to bring art and history alive for students.

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