Indiana University Bloomington

Five IU employees receive top staff award after re-creating public art banners

  • Feb. 18, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Five women in Indiana University's Residential Programs and Services division have received the university's highest staff award after spending many months painstakingly re-creating two iconic banners once again on display in the Musical Arts Center.

Staff members Connie Ducker, Kathy Duncan, Adria Boruff, Lucy Cabrera and Jenna Salyers work in the RPS sewing room, part of Residential Programs and Services' Interior Design Office, where they create many of the furnishings that make the university's residence halls comfortable and attractive for students.

However, last year, they spent considerable time carrying out the detailed and complex work involved in remaking the two, 21-foot-by-21-foot abstract art banners designed by renowned artist George Earl Ortman that have hung in the Musical Arts Center since its dedication in 1972. The new banners were re-dedicated Saturday night in a brief ceremony at the Musical Arts Center, where President Michael A. McRobbie presented each of the five staff members with the E. Ross Bartley Award, the highest staff award given by IU.

"Over the nearly 200 years of its history, Indiana University has acquired, through the generosity of countless individuals, numerous outstanding works of public art such as the Ortman banners," McRobbie said. "These works help define the essential character and culture of this great institution.

"As we approach the university's bicentennial, it is our duty to ensure that this great artistic heritage is preserved for the present and for generations to come. Indiana University is grateful to these five wonderful staff members whose dedication and skill have ensured that these acclaimed and much-loved works of art are once again hanging proudly in the MAC."

This is the third fabrication of the banners. The originals were created by a firm in New York and installed for the Musical Arts Center's dedication in 1972. Constructed from felt, that set of banners faded from sun exposure. The firm fabricated a second set of banners around the time of the Musical Arts Center's 25th anniversary, but those too faded and were taken down some years ago.

Linda Hunt -- a patron of the arts, IU alumna and the university's assistant vice president for capital planning and facilities -- had advocated for the return of the banners. Unfortunately, the plans and specifications for the banners no longer existed.

However, last summer, she and campus arts curator Sherry Rouse approached the RPS sewing room staffers to see if they could re-create the banners. Based on photos and other material found during research in the IU Archives, they developed a plan to re-create the banners and then commenced the work, which was only recently completed. Thanks to their efforts, the MAC is, in the eyes of many, once again complete.

The Musical Arts Center is a venue for major Jacobs School of Music performances, including IU Opera and Ballet Theater productions.

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Five staffers who work in the RPS sewing room each received the E. Ross Bartley Award on Saturday, Feb. 15. Pictured  are, from left, Kathy Duncan, Connie Ducker, IU President Michael A. McRobbie, first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie, Jenna Salyers, Lucy Cabrera and Adria Boruff.

Five staffers who work in the RPS sewing room each received the E. Ross Bartley Award on Saturday, Feb. 15. Pictured are, from left, Kathy Duncan, Connie Ducker, IU President Michael A. McRobbie, first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie, Jenna Salyers, Lucy Cabrera and Adria Boruff.

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Media Contacts

Kelly Kish

  • Office of the President
  • Office 812-856-3275
  • kekish@indiana.edu