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2008.11.05 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

Artist, Illustrator to Visit Omaha Nov. 18-22

Omaha - Artist David Diaz of California, whose work is on display through Feb. 22 at the Joslyn Art Museum, will be in Omaha later this month as part of the Del and Lou Ann Weber Centennial Lecture Series at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

Approximately 1,400 Omaha Public Schools Dual Language and English as a Second Language students will hear Diaz speak about his work, create their own illustrations in accordance with Diaz’s style and view the Diego Rivera exhibit that spans three exhibit rooms at the Joslyn Art Museum.

Diaz will visit El Museo Latino at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18; the Collaborating Commons inside the College of Public Affairs Building at UNO at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20; the South Branch Library at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21; and at the Joslyn Art Museum at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22.

All four of Diaz’s presentations, where he will talk about his work, are free and open the public.

His bold, stylized work has appeared in editorials for national publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Week, and The Atlantic Monthly. His commercial clients have included Perrier, American Express, Warner Bros., Pepsi-Cola, and the 1996 Olympics. Despite success, Diaz turned down design projects in favor of illustration assignments — his true passion.

His first picture book was awarded the prestigious 1995 Caldecott Medal, awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published that year. The Caldecott Medal changed Diaz's life in that the award enabled him to concentrate on book illustration. As he worked on The Inner City Mother Goose (1996, by Eve Merriam), Diaz created a number of simplified images that could function as graphic symbols or icons. His icons not only became a part of his books but they also became a business in themselves when he sold them in the form of computer software and continued to custom design them for clients.

The lecture series is organized by the Omaha Family Literacy Partnership, housed in the College of Education at UNO. The Diaz project is sponsored by the Nebraska Humanities Council, Nebraska Arts Council, Del and Lou Ann Weber Lecture Series, UNO College of Education, Omaha Public Schools, Joslyn Art Museum and the Omaha Public Library.

The next event in the Del and Lou Ann Weber Lecture series will feature an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books, Brian Pinkney. While in Omaha, Pinkney will visit area schools and conduct lectures to the community March 4-7, 2009.

The Omaha Family Literacy Partnership recognizes the power of building a culture of literacy as a simple, yet very successful, community effort to boost early childhood growth and development. A community culture of literacy supports young children in their journeys toward literacy learning. Author and illustrator events are designed to promote reading among families of young children in the Omaha metropolitan region. Community partners who share the vision of building a culture of literacy for young people in our community include the Omaha Public Library, Henry Doorly Zoo, El Museo Latino, Omaha Public Schools, Omaha Children’s Museum, Joslyn Art Museum, The Durham Museum, Council Bluffs Public Library, Union Pacific Railroad Museum, and Midlands Literacy Center.

Visit http://coe.unomaha.edu/oflp for more information.

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UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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