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Donor Spotlight: Wally Dieckmann

Tuesday, December 15, 2015
By Lux Art Institute

Wally Dieckmann, longtime donor and former Lux Board president, takes a moment to give some of his opinions on art and Lux.

Tell me why you think art is important?

Art, and specifically contemporary art, reflects the social and technological forces of our times. Art is one avenue for documenting our lives for posterity.

Who has been your favorite artist-in-residence and why?

Alison Saar [2011]. Her work reflects very powerfully on contemporary African-American experience in America. Also, I feel a special relationship with her because she is a graduate of Scripps College, a sister college to my alma mater, Claremont McKenna.

Do you collect art, and if yes, what is your current preferred piece in your home?

My wife and I collect art where we experience a connection, not because it has been deemed important by someone else. We have purchased two pieces from Lux artists-in-residence, but Plumbbob by Iva Gueorguieva is far and away my favorite. Plumbbob was the codename for a series of nuclear tests in Nevada, and the painting reflects both the energy of a nuclear blast and the way in which science went awry by using pigs as proxies for humans during the tests.

What are some of the highlights of your tenure as Board President and Board Member at Lux?

The Lux Education Pavilion: first, acquiring the school building that stood on the site, and second, converting that building into the Education Pavilion.

How did you learn about Lux and what inspired you to be a supporter?

I was recruited to join the 1999-2000 board, before Lux had any physical assets. At that point, Lux was a concept with a plan to make it a reality. I wanted to see both the “institute” concept succeed and Lux become an important educational force in the art world.

What is your favorite aspect of what Lux does?

From day one, I’ve been most interested in our education programs, particularly the 15-year-old Valise Project that touches the lives of so many children in their classrooms. The Valise Project gives each child a unique opportunity to engage with art from a living artist and to create his or her own interpretation with guidance and materials provided by Lux. I am thrilled we can now showcase former artists-in-residence, some of whom have completed valises for Lux. I’m the son of an educator, and this must be why I am so passionate about our education programs.

The education department also does a great job of displaying the work of local artists in the Linda Formo Brandes Galley of the Education Pavilion. I think connecting to local artists gives Lux credibility in the local community and will, over time, build support for Lux.  In a sense you support local artists on our side and they, in turn, become advocates for Lux and our programs.

Could you share a story about your experience partnering with Lux?

I, along with fellow board members, went on a Lux-sponsored trip to Houston, Ft. Worth, and Dallas. Visiting the Kimbell Museum, a Louis Kahn masterpiece, was the highlight of a trip that included great conversation, good food, and incredible art.


Tags: Donor Spotlight, Wally Dieckmann, Board Members, Featured, .

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