VIEW ALUMNI BY DECADE:
Rolf Westphal, ’68, majored in Economics at Macalester. He received a B.F.A. at Kansas City Art Institute and an M.F.A. from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His monumental sculptures have been installed in Austria, Germany, Finland, Siberia, Turkey, Canada and across the US. He described himself as an “international person working internationally.” He held many teaching positions, including the Vancouver College of Art and Design in British Columbia, the Kansas City Art Institute, the University of Texas at Austin, and was the Frederick R. Layton Distinguished Visiting Professor in Studio Art at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. He died in 2016. To see more of Rolf Westphal’s work, visit rolfwestphal.com/The-Art and bilhenrygallery.com/westphal
Yuko Nii, ’65, In 2001, New York State Governor George Pataki named Nii a “Woman of Excellence, Vision and Courage,” and Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden honored her as one of Brooklyn’s Women of the Year. She founded the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Wayne Potratz, ’64, has an internationally acclaimed career in sculpture. He was named a Nina Tesla Ballen Visiting Scholar at new Mexico Highlands University, where he conducted a tatara smelt, turning magnetite iron ore into high carbon steel. Potratz is a former professor of sculpture and chair of the University of Minnesota’s art department. During a 2008 visit to the National Casting Centre Foundry at New York’s Alfred University, he demonstrated African, Indian, Mesoamerican, and Japanese clay mold techniques for casting iron and bronze. He has had recent shows at the “Contemporary Cast Iron II,” a national group exhibition at the Metal Museum in Memphis, and “Fusion of East and West,” a group exhibition at Luxun Academy of Art, Shenyang, China. His bronze world vessel is a time capsule/ sculpture in Macalester’s DeWitt Wallace Library. He received a 2014 Macalester Alumni Distinguished Citizen Award. His citation reads: Practicing art could be perceived as solitary work, but for Wayne Potratz, it’s the opposite: his art has connected him to a global community of teachers, students, and scholars. Thanks to many international artist’s residencies, Potratz has developed a broad, unique, and global perspective on his craft: “A specialist in ancient metal casting techniques from around the world, he has advanced the cause of internationalism through the making, teaching, and international exhibit of sculpture,” writes one of his nominators, Macalester Art Professor Ruthann Godollei. A serious artist even as an undergraduate, Potratz majored in art education. Encouraged by Mac mentors and art Professors Tony Caponi and Jerry Rudquist, he earned a master’s degree in sculpture from the University of California–Berkeley. In nearly five decades that followed, Potratz balanced teaching and practicing art at equally exceptional levels. He taught more than 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 150 University of Minnesota courses over a 45-year teaching career. In 2008, the university named Potratz a College of Liberal Arts Scholar, the first artist to ever receive the honor. Using the Lakota sign for “turtle” as his artistic signature since graduate school and drawing inspiration from many trips to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, Potratz works primarily with cast bronze, iron, and aluminum. He is the founder of the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. He has received international recognition through fellowships and awards, including the International Sculpture Center’s 2013 Outstanding Educator Award, and has been part of 30 one- or two-person exhibitions and 340 group exhibitions. Writes another nominator on his impact: “Wayne has contributed to the education not only of generations of students at the University of Minnesota but also of a worldwide community of scholars, with whom he speaks in the international language of art.” In 2013 he won a Minnesota State Arts Board grant.
Sara Aeikens, ’63, operates Imprints International and is a photographer in Albert Lea, MN. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Siah Armajani, ’63, (Tehran, Iran) is a world-renowned sculptor. He designed the Olympic cauldron lit dramatically by Muhammad Ali at the ’96 games in Atlanta and the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge linking the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden with Loring Park in Minneapolis. Siah Armajani: Follow This Line, the first comprehensive retrospective in the United States devoted to Armajani, will be at the Walker Art Center, Mpls., Sep 8, 2018–Dec 30, 2019. He had a solo exhibit at Alexander Gray Associates Gallery, NYC, in 2016. His Tomb Series was profiled in the New York Times in September 2014. Other permanent constructions include Lighthouse and Bridge on Staten Island, Reading Garden No.1 in Roanoke, Virginia; Reading House in Lake Placid, New York; The Louis Kahn Lecture Room at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Gazebo for Two Anarchists: Gabriella Antolini and Alberto Antolini, at Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY; and NOAA Bridges in Seattle, Washington. He had a solo exhibit at Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis in 2006. In 2010 he received one of 50 United States Artists fellowships to artists, which involves a $50,000 unrestricted grant to further their work. To see more of Armajani’s work, visit beamcontemporaryart.com/siah-armajani.
Alan E. Kraning, ’62, was awarded the Wallace Graduate Fellowship for 1962-63. The $1,000 Fellowship was given by DeWitt Wallace, Reader’s Digest editor and son of the founder of Macalester, for advanced study in the field of fine arts at Cranbrook Academy of Art. He was an Instructor and Assistant Professor in Art at the University of MN, Mpls in the late 1960s and early 1970s.