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‘Women of Indiana University’ exhibit at IMU updated with new artwork

Jan. 20, 2016

Ten new faces are now on display in the east lounge of the IMU as part of IU’s “Women of Indiana University” art exhibit.

The permanent exhibit highlighting influential women who have had an impact on the university was unveiled in 2013. Campus art curator Sherry Rouse has been hard at work since then, searching for new portraits, photographs and images to honor a new series of women.

sherry rouse poses with portrait

From left, campus curator of art Sherry Rouse stands with artist Jennifer Mujezinovic in front of a portrait of IU's Elizabeth "Buzz" Kurpius. | Photo By Chaz Mottinger, IU COMMUNICATIONS

“It’s so important to me to be involved in growing this exhibit,” Rouse said. “There are so many amazing women who are part of this university’s history, and this is a wonderful way to draw attention to their rich legacy.”

New images displayed feature:

  • Elizabeth “Buzz” Kurpius, who came to IU in 1974 as the first female assistant football coach focused on academics, making IU the first school in the Big Ten to hire an advisor to assist athletes. The painting is by IU alumna Jennifer Mujezinovic.
  • Virginia Dill McCarty, an alumna of the IU School of Law-Indianapolis who, in 1984, became the first woman to run for governor of Indiana. The painting is by IU alumna Pamela Bliss.
  • Edith Schuman, the first female intern at the IU School of Medicine in 1933.
  • Carrie Parker Taylor, the first African American woman to attend IU in 1898. Her legacy was recently discovered by IU Archives director Dina Kellams, after which the university created a scholarship in her name.
  • Florence Riman McMaster, who was director of the law library at the IU School of Law-Indianapolis, a law professor and also worked on IUPUI’s Commission on Women. Her portrait is by former Herron School of Art and Design dean Donald Mattison.
  • Emily Holmquist, the first dean of the IU School of Nursing. Her portrait is also by Mattison.
  • Dagmar K. Riley, a Norwegian native who owned the newspaper that is now known as The Herald-Times.
  • Joyce Ellen Grigsby Williams, who helped create IU’s Mini University program during her tenure with the Division of Continuing Studies.

For other works, the artist is the feature. That includes Margaret “Nellie” Owings, whose portrait is by well-known artist T.C. Steele. It also includes a print of women’s voting rights lobbyist Alice Paul created by artist Peg Zeglin Brand, wife of IU’s 16th president Myles Brand and the first university first lady to hold a faculty appointment during her husband’s tenure.

Rouse said the catalyst for the exhibit came when the university commissioned a portrait of the late Elinor Ostrom, an IU professor who in 2009 was the first women to receive the Nobel Prize in economics. Ostrom died in 2012.

That painting is indicative of the personal nature of the exhibit, Rouse said, pointing out the scene behind a smiling Ostrom is of Nepal, where she did some of her ground-breaking research, and just at her left elbow is a portrait of her late husband, Vincent. The portrait was painted by fine arts professor emerita Bonnie Sklarski.

What’s next on Rouse’s to-do list? She’ll continue to gather portraits or works of art highlighting women across all of IU’s regional campuses. In addition, the university plans to commission a portrait of Taylor to display as part of the exhibit.

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