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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 1, 2004

DeGowin Blood Center Kicks Off 'The Four Seasons Of Life' Donor Campaign

The DeGowin Blood Center at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will host an invitation-only kickoff event for its 2004-2005 campaign, "The Four Seasons of Life," from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, at the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

The event will feature the unveiling of an original painting, "The Four Seasons of Iowa," created by Iowa City artist Marcia Wegman for blood donors who join the program. High-quality reproductions of the pastel painting will be given to those who donate blood or platelets four times over the length of the campaign - one calendar year. Reproductions will not be for sale anywhere else.

The kickoff event will also feature a keynote speech from blood donation advocate Lauren Larson, a Denver, Colo., resident who received 250 units of blood during and after the birth of her daughter several years ago.

"We are very excited about this new program," said Mitch Overton, donor recruitment coordinator for the DeGowin Blood Center, who will officially introduce the campaign Sept. 1. "It's something very different from what we've done in the past and it should be quite rewarding as we watch it develop over the next 12 months.

"Marcia has created a beautiful painting for us, and I expect our donors will be excited about it, as well," Overton added.

Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, keynote speaker Lauren Larson travels the country to encourage and educate others on the benefits of blood donation.

Just hours after an emergency C-section to save the life of her daughter, Larson's liver and kidneys failed and she slipped into a severe coma. For several weeks her life hung in a delicate balance. While the exact cause of her illness is still uncertain, one thing is clear: she is alive because of the 250 people who made sure blood was available when she needed it most.

A 47-year Iowa City resident, Marcia Wegman originally came to the area to receive a master's degree in printmaking from the UI. She operated "Things & Things & Things" downtown for 34 years with her former husband, then began focusing full-time on her art when the store closed in 1995. One of her Iowa landscapes was included in an Australian publication, How Did You Paint That? 100 Ways to Paint Landscapes. She was a finalist in an international landscape competition sponsored by International Pastel Artist, and has been featured in American Artist magazine.

Wegman has explored many different mediums including oil, watercolor and acrylic painting, printmaking, papermaking, jewelry, drawing and mixed medium abstract collage. Although the medium has changed many times, nature has remained the constant inspiration.

"I think the Iowa land is quite beautiful in all seasons. It has provided endlessly rich and varied subject matter for my pastel paintings with constant new challenges to explore," she said.

"When I began to think about what I might do for the DeGowin blood donor commission that would incorporate all the seasons, I didn't know how to come up with an image that would not be confusing or trite. In the past I have done a few diptychs, triptychs, and quadriptychs, but in an abstract mixed medium collage form. When it occurred to me that I might use this format for a representational landscape, I knew I had hit on the solution. The first attempt I threw away. The second attempt surprised me with the speed and ease with which I was able to paint it," Wegman concluded.

All regional media are invited to attend the kickoff event. The UI Museum of Art is located at 150 North Riverside Drive. Refreshments will be provided.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 200 Hawkins Drive, W219 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009.

MEDIA CONTACT: Clancy Champanois, 319-384-9171, clancy-champanois@uiowa.edu