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November 9, 1998

Local art collector and dentist donates works by acclaimed artist

By Barbara McKenna

Coyotes have settled in the back hallways of McHenry Library--coyotes digging for bones, chasing the moon, scratching fleas.

Coyotes and other Native American figures are a mainstay of Dan Stolpe's art (more art)

These coyotes are the creation of Dan Stolpe, an internationally renowned artist and longtime resident of Santa Cruz. Stolpe's woodcuts, lithographs, and etchings of coyotes and other Native American figures are found in more than 25 major collections around the world. Those collections now include UCSC, thanks to a gift from Ron Wickum, a Santa Cruz resident.

Wickum, a longtime supporter of Stolpe's, donated 15 works by the artist to the university, a gift valued at approximately $15,000. A dentist who has lived in Santa Cruz since 1968, Wickum says he began collecting art while still a student in dental school.

"I've got more work by Dan than any other single artist," says Wickum, who bought his first Stolpe piece some 10 years ago. "I like the depth of his art and the challenge. And I think it's meant to be exhibited. It's very powerful work and deals with a side that creates emotion."

Wickum decided to donate the pieces to the university where they could be viewed and enjoyed by others. "I like this way of helping the university and sharing with others these pieces that I enjoy so much," he says. "So many art mediums are falling into disuse, especially with the advent of the computer, that we are losing our artists who use presses and hand tools. I'm hopeful that by making this art visible to a wide audience we can inspire future artists--and what better place to reach those young artists than a university library?"

The pieces will be housed in the Special Collections, a department of the University Library. Special Collections is home to a wide range of archives of art, literature, music, local history, and fine printing. The items are available for public viewing and are loaned to museums around the world for special exhibitions. This is the most recent gift of Stolpe works to Special Collections, which has received several other donations over the years.

"We are very grateful for Ron's gift, which expands our collection of the work of an artist who is not only internationally renowned but lives and works locally," said Rita Bottoms, head of Special Collections. "Through his gift, Ron has made it possible for generations of students and art lovers to enjoy these wonderful works."

To learn more about Stolpe, visit the Native Images Gallery

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