Coordinated by Susan Fiebig, presented along with Julie Balson of Gallery & Frame Shop and Michael Mentzer, author of The World of Owen Gromme, this piece was donated to UW-Fond du Lac. Present were John Short, Dean of UW-FDL, Susan Fiebig, Julie Balson, Michael Mentzer, and Darin Garbisch.
The property where four Fond du Lac educational institutions now reside was once a vast prairie where a young boy played, hunted and became inspired to create art. Owen Gromme grew up just west of the area where MPTC, UW-FDL, Lakeshore Elementary and the FDL High School now sit. On Friday, Sept. 13, two of these Fond du Lac schools received an Owen Gromme print specifically selected for permanent installation in their buildings.
The UW-FDL presentation took place in the University Commons with John Short (Dean of UW-FDL), Darin Garbisch (UW-FDL Board member), students and professors present. Susan Fiebig, coordinator of this event, thanked the presenters, Julie Balson (owner of Gallery & Frame) for the donation of the matting and framing of the Gromme prints, and Michael Mentzer, author of the biography of Owen Gromme for his insight into the artist.
Also given acknowledgment was the Windhover Center for the Arts, presently the THELMA Sadoff Center for the Arts, for their donation of four Owen Gromme prints from their collection, which were made before the re-branding.
Fiebig also gave recognition to Brian and Gina Schneider of St. Peter, who inspired this project from discussions about their love and admiration for Gromme and the need to honor his memory in some way.
At the MPTC presentation, Dr. Sheila Ruhland accepted a print of Gromme's 1987 oil painting Winter-Ruffed Grouse chosen for their school. Dr. Ruhland anticipates installation of their artwork after the renovation of the entrance to MPTC in the next few months. Also in attendance were Bart Putzer, Kim Spartz, Brenda Flanigan, Judy Urben and Amber Bemis.
Gromme painted into his mid-90s and is revered by all wildlife artists as the man who inspired them to use this art form to preserve the beauty of the wildlife in the state that is endangered. Gromme's work illustrates many species that are now extinct.
During the presentations, Julie Balson of the Gallery and Frame Shop in Fond du Lac shared the following quote from the book, The World of Owen Gromme by Michael Mentzer - "Who Knows? Maybe someday thousands of years from now one of my paintings will be found stored away some place, the only existing record of what that particular bird or animal looked like. But even if that never happens, I feel a deep responsibility to show nature as it really is."
Lakeshore Elementary and Fond du Lac High School will be presented their gift of an Owen Gromme print at future presentations.