Art major Dan Butera, Wittenberg class of 2019, was this year’s recipient of the Presidential Art Award, one of the highest accomplishments an art student can receive at the University. His work will be displayed for one year at the Benjamin Prince House, the presidential home at Wittenberg where current President Michael L. Frandsen and spouse Sharon reside.
This award, instituted in 2006 by then President Mark H. Erickson, Wittenberg’s 13th president, is given annually to a senior art major whose work exemplifies the highest accomplishment in concept and technique. All presidents since have sponsored the award.
“Dan’s work truly embodies the spirit of Wittenberg's mission in the liberal arts,” said Alejandra Gimenez-Berger, associate professor of art and department chair. “His inspiration is Greek tragedy, with which he became deeply involved, intellectually, while working on a production in the theatre department. He was also inspired by the ancient artistic Greek notion of demonstrating states of mind through the body, and the Renaissance's appropriation of this notion through contrapposto, which he learned in his art history courses. Dan’s work evolved as he applied digital and analog technologies to explore the concept, to arrive to the distinctively contemporary art that makes up his series.”
The selection process for the award begins with the president visiting the Senior Art Exhibition at the end of each academic year. Then, in consultation with the art department faculty, the president chooses a piece of art for purchase for Wittenberg’s permanent collection.
Numerous students had their work featured in various art shows and exhibits this year with several receiving awards. Kimberly S. Mugford ’21, Amanda V. Hanson ’20, and Andrew M. O'Malley ’20 received The Ralston C. Thompson Award. Lilliana K. Strozier ’20 and Jacob P. Mortensen ’21 received Wittenberg Guild Awards, and Grace A. Worley ’20 and Katlyn L. Roberts ’20 received the S. Paul and Clara M. Weaver Endowed Scholarship