October 11, 2004

Contact: Jennifer Riordan 272-0261 office, 220-0702 cell; Bridgid Isworth 272-1622

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Art students from the University of New Mexico (UNM) have created the unique awards that will be presented to the recipients of the UNM Health Sciences Center (HSC) Community Partnership Awards Saturday night, October 16.

R. Philip Eaton, MD, Executive Vice President for UNM Health Sciences said that the awards were created especially for this event. "We thought it would be wonderful to have this year's award custom made by local artists who would include part of the old buildings in the design," he explained. "Our goal was to give our honorees very special, unique awards. I think we've succeeded."

Since this year's ceremony is being held on the site where these buildings used to stand--and where in the very near future the UNM Health Education Building will stand--Eaton came up with the idea to ask UNM art students to design and create the awards.

Each award was individually designed and created by the advanced art students with the supervision of UNM Art Professor Constance DeJong. Students began working to create the awards in March.

According to DeJong, the students visited the site before the metal buildings were demolished.  Some of the students collected samples of organic materials, such as branches and leaves, that they later used to cast parts of the awards. "The awards are amazing," said Eaton. "We couldn't have asked for more beautiful or unique awards for this special event." 

Each of the awards is an original, one-of-a-kind piece of art. They are cast in bronze, sterling silver or a combination of both. Adding to their distinctiveness, each award also bears the signature of the artist on a small piece of metal from the now-demolished buildings. 

"Those old metal buildings contained the School of Medicine's first classrooms and laboratories.  They are a very important part of our history," said Eaton.  "We have been able to save a small part of them with these awards."

In addition to the awards for the ceremony, Eaton arranged to have several additional awards created to be included in the HSC's permanent art collection.

The Community Partnership Awards are held annually to celebrate those organizations and individuals who have impacted the HSC through generous support. This year, the Community Partnership Awards will commemorate 250 Years of Health Care to New Mexico by celebrating 250 years of combined anniversaries from the School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing, Health Sciences Center Library and Informatics Center, Health Sciences Center and the University of New Mexico Hospitals.