Texas Tech University :: School Of Art

The Medici Circle To Bolster Scholarship Support For
School of Art Students

Written by Douglas Chapman

Art lovers from the Lubbock community have joined faculty and staff to form a brand new organization at the Texas Tech School of Art. Called The Medici Circle – Supporters of the School of Art this group will organize fundraisers to support student scholarships in the School of Art as well as coordinate various “friend-raisers” to increase awareness about the strengths of the SOA programs.

“This is an extremely important organization that will help in funding School of Art students in their pursuits and will help in recruiting efforts for new and aspiring students,” said Tina Fuentes, the Interim Director of the School of Art. Fuentes, who represents the School of Art’s needs to the Medici Circle. Noting that this is a support organization that they have needed to form for sometime now, Fuentes added, “Medici Circle will be an extremely helpful and communicative group that will be very important in extending financial support in areas where state funding has diminished, specifically, scholarships and other programs. This funding will help to encourage present, as well as attract future students.”

Ken Dixon is the inaugural and current president of Medici Circle. Retired from the School of Art, Dixon has the designation of Professor Emeritus in Painting.  An active artist himself, who has exhibited extensively during the past two decades and had his artwork collected into many public collections, Dixon is optimistic about the prospects of gathering local support for art student scholarships. “We will be initiating a membership drive in early March in which all funds collected will be earmarked for art student scholarships – a different strategy than the typical membership drive in which funds raised typically support operations,” Dixon said. It is anticipated that citizens from throughout the community will see the value in the project.

Nola Richards, secretary of Medici Circle, an MFA alumna of the SOA program and currently serving as Adjunct Professor of Drawing and Design at Lubbock Christian University, is also enthusiastic about the project. “The art students need scholarship support as well as money to go to conventions and trips that support their area of interest because right now there is just not enough money to go around to support art student programs. Medici Circle will certainly help to relieve some of that pressure with outside public and business support.”

Chris Taylor, President-Elect of Medici Circle and next year’s President, is currently a doctoral student and instructor at Tech’s Hospitality School.  “Everyone in the Medici Circle is extremely passionate about the visual arts and wanting to encourage and help our students out in any way we can. That’s the reason why all of us are involved in it,” Taylor said.  Taylor is spear-heading the “5x7” art exhibition and fundraiser to be held in Spring 2008.  This project will collect several hundred artwork donations, each to be sold at a flat price regardless of who the artist is.  “5x7” events at other art institutions around the state and nation have garnered as much as $20,000 to $30,000 from a single festive evening of enthusiastic buying.  Taylor, who has experience from having conducted such an event in Abilene, is confident that Lubbock will be able to do as well.

The Medici Circle will kick-off the membership drive during ShinoFest 2, which is being presented as an awareness builder and “friends-raiser” on March 2.  The membership mailout will be conducted in March. Board Members of the Medici Circle interviewed for this story were particularly keen in their wishes to thank Kim Klotzman, Development Officer in the College of Visual & Performing Arts and Joe Arredondo, Assistant to the Director at the School of Art for their efforts in starting the Medici Circle.  Capitol Plains Bank at University & Glenna Goodacre was also acknowledged for allowing Medici Circle Executive Committee meetings to be held in the bank lobby.

For additional information about joining the Medici Circle, please contact Joe Arredondo at joe.arredondo@ttu.edu or by calling 806-742-1947.