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 Local Fraser Family Donates Artwork

November 26, 2008 - Patrons of the Knightstown Public Library can now enjoy a variety of fine American art, courtesy of a donation by a local homeschooling family.

Kevin and Sheri Fraser of Knightstown, along with their children Sarah and Andrew, applied for a “Picturing America” award via the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Over 600 homeschooling families and other public and private educational organizations received the grant, which this year. The program provides 40-piece sets of classic American art prints, each with a brief explainer. The sets also come with a teacher’s resource guide for educators.

Sheri Fraser educates the couple’s children in their Knightstown home. Although the Frasers applied for the program in winter of 2007, a June letter from the NEH confirmed they’d been selected for the program. Since Fraser educates other children in Indianapolis, aside from her own kids, the family was eligible for the grant.

“By bringing high-quality reproductions of notable American art into public and private schools, libraries, and communities, Picturing America gives participants the opportunity to learn about our nation’s history and culture in a fresh and engaging way,” information from NEH said. “The program uses art as a catalyst for the study of America - the cultural, political, and historical threads woven into our nation’s fabric over time.”

Fraser decided to give the laminated set of colorful prints to the Knightstown Public Library, after considering the benefit to the community. “If we can reach more people with this artwork here at the library, then it’s the perfect place,” she said.

As an added bonus, Knightstown Public Library Director Mary Miller said she will find related books to display near the artwork. Miller said the library plans to display most of the 40 prints, featuring three or four different works each month. The prints are robust in size, meticulously printed and laminated for durability.

“The Picturing America images,” the NEH said, “span several centuries and feature artists ranging from early American Indian artisans to painters Mary Cassatt and Thomas Hart Benton; and photographers Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, to architects Frank Lloyd Wright and William Van Alen. While these images are not intended to encapsulate the whole of American history or its art, they are a cohesive sampler of significant works that serves as a starting point for learning about both.”

Frasher said she and her children, as well as kids in Indianapolis, have enjoyed using the program. The Frasher children reviewed the artwork, then wrote descriptive analyses of select prints. “Some of these images are so inspiring,” Fraser said, referring to art depicting scenes from the civil rights movement. “These prints really capture particular moments in history. Plus, it’s fun to have this many American artists in one place to review.”

The artwork will be on display at the Knightstown Public Library through June.


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