Marian University gifted 400+ original artworks

September 15, 2020

The Kohler Foundation has donated a collection of more than 400 works of art to the permanent collection of Marian University, to be displayed on campus and used for teaching purposes.

The Kohler Foundation initially extended the invitation to Christine Martin, director of institutional partnerships and community relations, and Dr. George Koonce, senior vice president for university relations. Associate art professor, Mark Merline, established contact for the art department and associate professor of Graphic Arts, Tom Wallestad, guided the selection process of the artwork.

In July, Marian art professors Alyssa Gruett (director of the Expressive and Therapeutic Arts program), Michael Wartgow (Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts curator/Arts Education coordinator), and Shane McAdams (Milwaukee’s Real Tinsel contemporary art gallery owner), and Acting President Dr. Michelle Majewski joined Wallestad at the Kohler Foundation’s warehouse to select the art collections Marian University would receive.

“I’m excited to have these works of art join our collection to both enhance our campus community and inspire all of our students,” said Wallestad. “I can’t wait to share these great examples with our art students. I see immediate benefits to those in our life drawing, painting, animation and comic illustration classes.”

Many of the pieces will be from artist Judith Roth, a Boston native whose works have been exhibited across the U.S., including the Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio, the Maier Museum of Art in Virginia, the National Academy of Design in New York, and J. Rosenthal Fine Arts in Chicago. Marian University will receive 395 of her paintings and works on paper, and 35 sketchbooks, as a gift of the Judith Roth Revocable Trust and Kohler Foundation, Inc.

As a gift of Ruth Kjaer and Kohler Foundation, Inc., Marian University will also receive 32 works by artist John Colt, a Madison native whose work was exhibited in several exhibitions throughout the world. Four giclee prints by artist Georg Vihos, whose work has appeared repeatedly in exhibitions at The Detroit Institute of Arts and The Art Institute of Chicago, are a gift of the Vihos Family and Kohler Foundation, Inc.

“We are pleased to include works of artists like John Colt, Judith Roth, and Georg Vihos in this gift to Marian University, as we know the power that art can have, not only in building community, but also offering connection to community members who encounter it,” said Laura Roenitz, the Kohler Foundation executive director. “We are honored to be giving Marian a diverse collection for all to enjoy.”

The gifts will arrive at Marian University in several stages starting this month, as some of the work is undergoing conservation in Chicago.

PICTURED: From left to right, Marian University art professors Shane McAdams (Milwaukee’s Real Tinsel contemporary art gallery owner), Michael Wartgow (Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts curator/Arts Education coordinator), and associate professor of Graphic Arts Tom Wallestad; Acting President Dr. Michelle Majewski; the Kohler Foundation’s Preservation Coordinator Beth Wiza, Executive Director Laura Roenitz, and Art Preservation Manager Liesl Testwuide; and art professor and director of the Expressive and Therapeutic Arts program Alyssa Gruett. Behind the group are works by John Colt and Judith Roth that will be gifted by the Kohler Foundation to Marian University.

Untitled (no date) by Judith Roth and Sandra Holubow

Untitled (1986) by Judith Roth