School of Art auctions prints for endowment

Sarah Lack

A group of prints donated to the School of Art were auctioned on Sunday to benefit the school’s Thomas D. Little Prize for Excellence in Printmaking.

The prize, established by the friends, colleagues and family of the late Thomas D. Little, is awarded to one undergraduate and one graduate printmaking student each year.

As a student, Little studied printmaking and painting at Kent State’s School of Art in the 1970s. He became a master printer for Brand X Editions, a New York City print shop that was used by many well-known artists to produce quality multiples of their work.

As he found success, Little continued to support Kent State’s printmaking program, serving as a mentor and teacher by providing students opportunities in his New York City studio.

The Thomas D. Little Prize continues that legacy, allowing printmaking students the opportunity to further their education, purchase expensive art supplies or travel abroad.

Most of the artists were friends and colleagues of Little and personally donated their own works to be auctioned. Notable works that were contributed include Chuck Close’s “Janet,” which sold for $9,000, and “Battery Variations,” a group of three prints by James Siena, that sold for $4,400.

Of the nine prints that were offered up for auction by the School of Art, six sold, raising almost $20,000 for the prize. The total endowment for the award nearly $60,000.

Even though most of the prints sold at or below their estimates, Dr. Christine Havice, director of the School of Art, is satisfied with the result.

“That’s normal for hard economic times,” Havice said. “We’re just happy to have those that were auctioned go into good hands.”

Friends, faculty and students of the School of Art gathered in Taylor Hall on Sunday for a local bidding party. Those who attended were able to follow a live transcript of the auction, which took place at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago, Ill.

“Lots of people worked hard to prepare, move the prints to Chicago, and set up the technology for the party,” Havice said.

Those who helped to organize the event included Michael Loderstedt, an associate professor of fine art and print at Kent State’s School of Art. Loderstedt was also one of the artists whose work was included in the auction, though it was one of the three that did not sell.

“When a work is submitted for auction, the seller can decide not to sell if the reserve is not met,” explained Havice.

She said that those prints will be saved for an auction in the future.

Little was never in it for the money, Havice said.

“I think he would have been amused and chagrined to see how concerned we were about the money,” Havice said. “But ultimately it goes to a good cause.”

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