A family that is well known for its generosity toward the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is giving back once again, funding the Visiting Artists Lecture Series of UW-Green Bay’s Art Agency.
Marcia Mueller, sister of the late Captain Craig A. Mueller, decided to back the series after meeting a student artist with a contagious enthusiasm for Art Agency and its work. The late Captain Mueller’s $1 million bequest, given in 2008, is the largest-ever gift for scholarships from a UW-Green Bay alumnus. Marcia Mueller continues to pursue her passion for art as a professional photographer, after retiring from a career in environmental health.
“It is extremely important to listen to the great ideas students have about making a difference for their school and the community,” Mueller said. “Craig would be the first one to help support Art Agency if he heard about the need. I’m just trying to carry on, and hopefully expand, his legacy.”
Marcia Mueller’s gift will support several visiting artists, beginning with metalsmith, writer and craft activist Gabriel Craig April 24-25. Craig will deliver an artist lecture from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 in Studio Arts 411, and will offer two “planning a performance piece” workshops, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30-6 p.m., Wednesday, April 25 in Studio Arts C112. Also on Wednesday, April 25, Craig will present “Raising Awareness: A metalsmithing performance,” from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3:30-6 p.m. in the University Union, Room 206. Additional artists will be announced as details of their visits are solidified.
UW-Green Bay senior Jason Keller inspired Mueller’s interest in funding the series when she met him at the 2011 Chancellor’s Scholarship Reception on campus. One of the recipients of Craig A. Mueller’s scholarships, Keller spoke passionately about Art Agency, a student organization that connects art students, networks with visiting artists and engages in related community services projects. He mentioned some funding challenges the group had encountered, and Mueller requested more information. From there, the idea took off, Keller said.
“At a time when budget cuts are at the forefront of discussions, it is wonderful to have someone like Marcia to advocate for the importance of the arts,” he said. “The Visiting Artist Series will provide all the students at UW-Green Bay with a unique resource, and should extend beyond the Art department. Having the ability to speak with the artists about their individual processes, techniques and thoughts will provide invaluable insight to all the students who choose to participate.”
Maintaining a healthy visiting artist program is an invaluable part of Art students’ education, said Alison Stehlik, assistant professor of Arts and Visual Design. Mueller’s gift is helping to ensure it continues.
“It gives our students the opportunity to work firsthand with exciting professionals in their field,” Stehlik said. “The artists we bring in talk about how they are inspired by the world around them. They introduce them to different styles of research and new techniques. But most importantly, they give our students a broad perspective of what they can contribute to an art community.”