Sculpture program created by Dora Timmerman flourishes under WSU’s watch

Timmerman contributed $33,000 to ensure the program’s survival

Fifth-graders at Seltzer Elementary School worked with artist Randy Regier to create an art installation last spring as part of the Dora Timmerman School Sculpture Program
Fifth-graders at Seltzer Elementary School worked with artist Randy Regier to create an art installation last spring as part of the Dora Timmerman School Sculpture Program.

When Dora Timmerman decided that it was time to step back from the program she founded to help fifth-grade schoolchildren develop an appreciation for art, she turned to the WSU School of Art and Design to pick up the reins.

    It’s a decision she’s never regretted, says Timmerman, who is well known for her passion for the arts, particularly sculpture.

    “I was just ecstatic to see what they’ve done,” she said. “I feel so good and comfortable about the way it’s going, and if it keeps going that way, it will be fabulous.”

    Four years ago, Timmerman and the Wichita Arts Council provided a gift of $33,000 to enable the WSU School of Art and Design to oversee the Dora Timmerman School Sculpture Program. The school hired Wichita artist Jana Durfee to select local sculptors who would help fifth-grade students at Wichita elementary schools create permanent sculptures in their schools.

    “We want the kids to see that art is real, that the people who make it are real, and that it doesn’t have to be an abstract thing for them,” says Durfee, who earned her master’s degree in fine arts at Wichita State. “What we hope is that it builds an appreciation for art that they’ll have for the rest of their lives.”


“I feel so good and comfortable about the way it’s going." 

- Dora Timmerman, on the School Sculpture Program she turned over to WSU

    Last spring, Durfee hired artists Randy Regier and Chris Gulick to work with children at Seltzer and Beech elementary schools to create permanent sculptures. Gulick and students at Beech created a large mobile while Regier and students at Seltzer created a three-dimensional world they called Sky City. Regier describes his young charges as fully engaged.

    “I didn’t want them to do a tiny part of a project that was really mine,” he said. “They took ownership of their individual works and I stood back and was able to coach them and enable them. I felt like I was working with a bunch of artists and not just kids who were doing what I told them to do.”

    That’s exactly what Timmerman envisioned.

    “It’s so much fun to see them develop an idea and carry it out. Maybe some of them will become artists, but not all of them. But hopefully they will have an interest in the arts for many years and will see their lives enhanced by that tremendously.”

    Durfee invited Timmerman to the dedication ceremonies at both schools when the projects were completed. “I couldn’t have been more pleased,” said Timmerman, who received a Governor’s Arts Award in 2009 for her support of the arts and especially her work with schoolchildren. “That’s when I knew we had made the right decision to turn this over to Wichita State.”

    Timmerman also has designated that her deferred gift to WSU be used to support the School Sculpture Program. 

The art project at Seltzer was titled Sky City. It was installed in the school’s library and will remain there indefinitely.

 

circle arrow If you would like to invest in this project or contribute to the College of Fine Arts, please contact Diana Gordon, WSU Foundation director of development for the College of Fine Arts and Ulrich Museum, at 316-978-7307 or at diana.gordon@wichita.edu.

Velma Wallace

 
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