Donation helps Iowa Central provide new opportunities for art students
by Iowa Central Information
Posted on 4/8/2022
Richard Black was a world-renowned printmaker who helped hundreds of students during his time as a professor at Drake University.
Black, who passed away in 2020, is still helping students through his donation to Iowa Central Community College.
Born in Farnhamville, Black donated his entire printmaking studio to the college so that the next generation could benefit from it.
“Richard Black was an incredible printmaker and a well-known professional artist,” said Kara Weyand, Humanities Coordinator and Humanities Professor at Iowa Central. “He also cared a great deal about education.”
Black graduated from Rinard High School and served in the United States Army. After returning home, he enrolled and graduated from Drake University before attending the University of Wisconsin to earn his master’s degree.
For 34 years, Black was a Professor of Art and Head of Printmaking at Drake. He had selected exhibits on display at the Royal Society of Painters-Printmakers Members Exhibition at Bankside Gallery in London, England along with exhibits at the Des Moines Art Center, Indianapolis Art Museum, Blanden Memorial Art Museum and several schools around the U.S.
“He left Iowa Central his entire printmaking studio so that students could learn about this art form,” Weyand said. “The donation included several large printing presses, closets full of printmaking paper, inks, a variety of tools, plates, studio furniture - basically nearly everything you would need to set up a studio for students.”
Over the summer, the equipment was moved to Iowa Central and the Visual Arts department spent all of the fall semester sorting and organizing.
“It was a ton of work to get everything moved and I am so grateful for the individuals and teams who helped make this happen,” Weyand said. “We set up a printmaking studio in a space adjacent to the classroom currently in use as a drawing studio and it was ready to go starting this semester.
“Mr. Black’s donation was so generous and we are thrilled to be able to honor his wish to share his art form with upcoming generations of students. Many community colleges would not have the resources to set up a studio for such a specialized art form.
“Our art students are getting to experience processes they might normally only have access to if they went on to take specialized printmaking courses at universities. Artwork will be created that would not be created without this donation. This is a special way to fulfill our mission of providing quality educational opportunities for our students.”
Printmaking is a general term to describe various methods of crafting, by hand, multiple copies of an image. A matrix with the image is created by hand then it is hand-printed, often with the use of a printing press.
Weyand feels the use of the equipment is endless for students and the school, in general, moving forward.
“This semester, we did monotypes in Painting and relief prints in Drawing 2, and we will continue to find more ways to incorporate printmaking processes into art classes,” she said. “When the ATB is finished, we hope to incorporate a printing press into a collaborative maker space so that more departments on campus can utilize it.
“Students would be able to create prints, of course, but could also do things like print designs on t-shirts, canvas bags and more. I can imagine it will be a fun resource for clubs, programs non-credit courses - the sky is the limit.”
Iowa Central gave me the opportunity to do both things I wanted for myself. To major in dental hygiene and play soccer.