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Life of former Penn State Fayette professor to be celebrated through art

9/9/2011 —

The life of Gloria T. DePaolis, art lover, mother and former art professor at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, will be celebrated at a special sculpture dedication scheduled for noon, Friday, Sept. 16, at the Penn State Fayette Library. This special event is open to the public.

Dr. Diane DePaolis Kiproff, the daughter of DePaolis, says her mother was a professor with Penn State Fayette since the early days of the campus until her retirement in 1990. “I can remember when my mother taught at Penn State Fayette when it was at Ella Peach School in Downtown Uniontown,” says DePaolis Kiproff. Because of DePaolis’ love of art and Penn State Fayette, DePaolis Kiproff and her husband, Dr. Paul Kiproff, decided to dedicate a sculpture in her mother’s memory at the Fayette campus.

DePaolis Kiproff says her mother was involved not only in building recognition for the campus, but also lending a hand in various campus activities. She recalls when her mother wrote a handbook for graduation and helped bake cookies for several events on campus. “Being a professor at Penn State Fayette was a big part of my mother’s life. She really cared about her students, and often felt like they were her friends. This is why I wanted to put a sculpture on campus in her memory.”

After her mother’s passing in Oct. 2008, a friend of DePaolis Kiproff suggested she take an art class at Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, Pa. While at a fundraiser for the organization, DePaolis Kiproff walked into a gallery and found a sculpture that reminded her of her mother and felt it would be a good piece to donate to Penn State Fayette.

The piece DePaolis Kiproff chose is “Chesnutt” by Will Giannotti. The handcrafted sculpture has a lot of movement and is light and playful. It features a large globe with a smaller globe nestled inside.

DePaolis Kiproff felt the piece symbolized what her mother loved about art and craft. “Wood was her favorite medium to work with, and she was always fascinated with the representation of mother and child in art,” she explains. “This piece resonated with me and was something my mother would have enjoyed.”

Giannotti, a Pittsburgh based artist, uses wood as his primary medium. His background in furniture design and construction, as well as art history, helps him to create art with a narrative component. His sculptures, including “Chesnutt,” are comprised of hollow-formed wood constructions that are created through a complex lamination process which includes several layers of wooden rings.

A reception will take place immediately following the dedication.

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