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The Prairie Print Makers


The Prairie Print Makers, opening on October 17, 2003, at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas, brings together a complete set of gift prints issued by this pioneering graphics society from 1931 to 1965. A Kansas-based print organization, the group had over one hundred members throughout North America. Among its active membership were many of the foremost printmakers in America during the middle of the 20th century, including John Taylor Arms, Clare Leighton, John Steuart Curry, and Stow Wengenroth.

To achieve its goals, and in keeping with the financial constraints of the Depression, the Prairie Print Makers sponsored inexpensive traveling sales exhibitions of new work by its active members. In addition, the organization commissioned an annual print to be created by one of its members. The 34 gift prints run the gamut of traditional printmaking techniques, including lithographs, etching, drypoint, aquatint, and wood engraving. This exhibition of representational prints reveals the richness and variety of printmaking in the Midwest during the first half of the 20h century and makes accessible the printing innovations of artists such as Maurice Bebb, Lloyd C. Foltz, Doel Reed, and Levon West.

The Prairie Print Makers is organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA. A color catalogue includes essays by Karal Ann Marling, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Bill North, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art; and Elizabeth Seaton, Art Institute of Chicago. The purpose of ExhibitsUSA is to create access to an array of arts and humanities exhibitions, nurture the development and understanding of diverse art forms and cultures, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. ExhibitsUSA is a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, a private, non-profit organization founded in 1972.

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