Archive for Sunday, September 30, 2001

Innovative Steinway artist donating work to Collage Concert auction

September 30, 2001


A special Steinway piano and the Kansas University alumnus who created its art case are coming to the KU campus to help raise money for the School of Fine Arts Educational Enhancement Fund.

Artist Wendell Castle was commissioned in 1988 by Steinway and Sons to create the art case for the 500,000th Steinway piano, which is touring the United States.

Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of the School of Fine Arts, said the piano will be taken off the tour and sent to Lawrence, where it will be played during the annual Collage Concert at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Lied Center.

The art case is signed by about 800 of the world's leading pianists, from Vladimir Horowitzto Elton John.

"I dramatically altered the design of the piano without altering the sound," Castle said during a phone call last week from his studio in Rochester, N.Y. "It's architectural, heavy, with larger legs."

An opportunity to play the piano after the Collage Concert will be auctioned off to the highest bidder during an invitation-only reception and auction from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Lied Center.

Other items for sale at the auction are a coat rack of polychrome wood created by Castle; an oil painting by Lawrence artist Robert Sudlow; a pair of tickets for the Lied Center's Concert and Broadway series; a pair of tickets for Johnson County Community College's dance and theater series; an opportunity to conduct the KU Marching Band at a home football game; and a chance to conduct the KU Basketball Band at a home men's basketball game.

Montgomery said the proceeds will help create travel scholarships so students can attend out-of-state exhibits, conferences and competitions.

Castle earned a bachelor's degree in industrial design and a master's degree in sculpture, both at KU. He taught at KU in the 1960s and then moved to Rochester, N.Y., to teach at Rochester Institute of Technology and the State University of New York in Brockport.

His innovative works, made of wood, bronze or plastic, are in the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, both in New York City; the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; and The Art Institute of Chicago.

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