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News Release

Thomas Mann to Share “One Artist’s Response to Hurricane Katrina”

Response to Hurricane KatrinaBethlehem, Pa., March 6, 2006—Thomas Mann, a resident of New Orleans and internationally recognized designer, sculptor, and metalsmith, will present a lecture, “Storm Cycle: One Artist’s Response to Hurricane Katrina,” on Tuesday, March 21 at 7:30 in Foy Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Mann is the artistic force behind the STORM CYCLE exhibition, a 20-panel story documenting the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In a slide lecture presentation he will describe the meaning behind the exhibition and also discuss his works in sculpture and jewelry during the 35 years of his prolific career.

STORM CYCLE is currently on view at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Washington. The exhibition will travel during the next two years to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans (Aug-Sept 2006), The Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas (Oct-Nov 2006), and the Fuller Museum of Craft, Brockton, Massachusetts.

Mann's lecture is the second in the Rose and Rudy Ackerman Visiting Lecture Series at Moravian College, funded by an endowment created by the Ackermans to foster the arts. Visiting artists will be invited to present lectures at the college by the chair of the Art Department after consultation with the art faculty. The inaugural lecture was presented in November 2005 by Jeff Gernsheimer ’68, creative director of Partners Design.

Mann maintains a workshop and gallery in the heart of New Orleans, and commented that “When Katrina passed our way we were fortunate….she missed us for the most part. We didn’t flood because of her rain, and her winds were no worse then a severe tropical storm. What we didn’t know was the levee walls were historically under-engineered and weren’t up to the task of sustaining a prolonged assault by a record storm surge. When they gave way the paradigm shifted to the disastrous.” After returning to New Orleans, Mann began to walk the deserted streets and along the Gulf Coast beaches to find remnants of the items that were destroyed as a result of this major catastrophe

Mann is a native of Allentown, Pa. and remains connected to his boyhood roots through his association with the Baum School of Art and his mother, Charlotte who still resides in Allentown. A book and catalog signing will be held at the conclusion of the lecture.

Rudy Ackerman is professor emeritus of the Moravian College art department where he taught for 37 years before stepping down in 2000. Throughout his career at Moravian, he was instrumental in obtaining various public and private grants to benefit the art department. Ackerman’s works in sculpture and paintings are on display at the Bethlehem Civic Center Sculpture Garden, Lehigh and Penn State Universities, Moravian College, and in private collections. He was featured in Who’s Who of American Art and has conducted research for the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to teaching at Moravian, Ackerman is the executive director of the Baum School of Art and is active in community art events. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Kutztown State College (now Kutztown University), a Master of Arts degree from Temple University, and Doctor of Education degree from Penn State University.

Rudy and his wife Rose, who is director of operations and special events at the Baum School, were honored with the Allentown Arts Commission’s Overall Arts Ovation Award in 2004. The award recognized five decades of their unwavering commitment to teaching art, especially to disadvantaged children; transforming the Baum School of Art from an educational center into an arts incubator; and improving the academics, business, and architectural landscape of Allentown.

Foy Concert hall is located on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus, at the corner of Main and Church Streets in Bethlehem. For more information, call 610-861-1680.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the web site at www.moravian.edu.