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Art and Nuclear Technology

Columbia River Near Hanford, Late Afternoon
Columbia River Near Hanford, Late Afternoon painting by Dianne Dickeman

“Particles on the Wall,” a multidisciplinary art exhibit examining how nuclear technology has affected humanity, opened today at the Washington State University Tri-Cities Art Center.

It interweaves visual art, poems and science with history and memorabilia to address issues of radioactive contamination, nuclear weapons and technology in Washington State — and the role of nuclear technology in southeastern Washington’s desert landscape.

“As a curator invested in local culture and education, I am particularly interested in the varied narratives and diverse depictions of the history of Hanford and the Columbia River nuclear era,” said Peter Christenson, assistant professor of fine arts and Art Center curator. “‘Particles on the Wall’ is truly an interdisciplinary approach to community-based education and is an impressive example of inspired artistic expression.”

Uniquely, it is a growing exhibit: it is different each time it is displayed. For the WSU Tri-Cities show, it includes nearly 50 pieces of art.

The WSU Tri-Cities Art Center is located inside the Consolidated Information Center at 2770 Crimson Way, Richland. Admission is free. Center hours are noon-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday. The exhibit ends April 4.

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Gift of Helm works provides insight into creative process

By Debby Stinson, Museum of Art

The Washington State University Museum of Art has received an $82,000 gift of work by late Northwest artist Robert Helm (M.F.A. ’69). The donation, by Robert and Shaké Sarkis, consists of 82 works on paper created 1975–99.

The Sarkises have amassed what is arguably the most comprehensive collection of Northwest and West Coast art. Robert Sarkis and WSU Museum of Art director Chris Bruce have known each other for more than 30 years. In addition to this gift, the couple previously donated other works by Helm to the WSU permanent collection.

“We are thrilled to add this amazing portfolio of drawings by former WSU fine arts faculty member Robert Helm to the Museum of Art and thank Robert and Shaké Sarkis for their generous gift,” said Jill Aesoph, director of development for the museum. “It is through such gifts that we have been able to build a permanent collection with more than 2,500 distinctive works of art, which will be part of the WSU experience for years to come.”  Continue story →