CHADRON – A multi-colored silkscreen print titled “Bingo,” by Chadron State College art professor and department chair Laura Bentz is included in a portfolio “Dog Head Stew: The Second Course” that was purchased by the Library of Congress in July for its prints and photographs department.
According to the Library of Congress website, the Library of Congress offers broad public access to prints representing a rich cross-section of still pictures as a contribution to education and scholarship. The collections of the Prints and Photographs Division include photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the U.S. and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people.
“The portfolio included works from such notable artists as Lynne Allen, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Melanie Yazzie, so I feel very honored,” Bentz said.
The design of Bentz’s 15 by 20-inch print intermingles Native American symbols with acronyms for the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act along with letters that spell out CASINO.
Bentz, who has taught art on or near several Indian reservations, has witnessed the socio-economic ramifications of gambling. She hopes her piece will cause viewers to pause and consider the complex issues surrounding reservation casinos.
“Gambling is a controversial subject. Some tribes have benefited from it but for others it’s been detrimental,” she said. “Gambling addictions can further impoverish people who are already impoverished.”
Bentz was among the printmakers invited by Elizabeth Klimek to submit pieces expressing personal and political honor or criticism of past and present representations of Native American culture for “Dog Head Stew: The Second Course.” The portfolio features work by 24 artists of all cultural backgrounds who were asked to address changes faced by indigenous communities of North America and how Native Americans fit into national and global societies/scenarios.
Each participating artist received a complete portfolio to exhibit in locations they select. Bentz has used prints from this portfolio and others she has participated in as instructional aids. Her portfolio was displayed in the fall of 2015 in CSC’s Memorial Hall Gallery 239.
Other portfolios have been exhibited at the Visual Arts Center at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho, Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts in Pendleton, Oregon, the Transition Gallery at Idaho State University in Pocatello, and as a part of the Global Matrix: International Print Exhibitions at Purdue University-West Lafayette in Indiana.
The portfolio is also archived in the collections of Southern Graphics Council International at Kennesaw State in Georgia, the Museum of Texas Tech University – Artist Printmaker Research Collection in Lubbock, and at the University of Colorado-Boulder Special Collections.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator