The U-M Fanfare Band, banners, giant puppet heads, a jazz quartet, cookies and a five-tiered “art” cake all were part of the uniquely creative celebration April 4-5 at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.
The university’s art and design community celebrated the naming of the school in honor of Penny and Roe Stamps’ transformative $40 million gift.
Banners across the university announced the naming celebration, which began April 4 with the Penny W. Stamps Speaker Series presentation at the Michigan Theater by Museum of Modern Art curator Paola Antonelli.
As the lights dimmed the Fanfare Band filed onto the Michigan Theater stage playing “Hail to the Chief” for Penny Stamps, as her family, friends and an audience of more than 700 clapped in unison.
The festivities continued the next afternoon at a tented celebration in the Art and Architecture Building Courtyard, where more than 400 members of the art and design community heard remarks by students, faculty, the community and U-M administration.
Regent Julia Donovan Darlow, received a round of applause when she stated that the school was the first at the university to be named for a woman.
“So many of us here at the university care so deeply about women’s opportunities and attainments, and this is a wonderful milestone,” Darlow said, commending Penny Stamps for her “support of scholarships … (that) will mean enduring, invaluable opportunities for creative students … (and) address the urgent need to make college affordable and accessible for all students.”
President Mary Sue Coleman called Stamps’ philanthropy “creativity personified.”
“The vision of Penny Stamps to transform the experience of art and design students and faculty has been unique among Michigan alumni. Together with Roe, she has made a powerful, lasting statement about the indispensible role of creativity and the arts at a research university,” Coleman said.
Rounding out the remarks, previous Penny Stamps Series speakers — including Oliver Stone, Ken Burns, Bill T. Jones, Marina Abromovic, Robert Wilson and Paula Shear — sent videotaped thank you messages and congratulations.
The celebration culminated with a jazz band-led parade of huge puppet heads created by Stamps students for the April 7 FestiFools celebration, including two heads created to look like Penny and Roe Stamps.
While the jazz band played, the crowd munched on a huge “art” cake and artfully decorated cookies created by Stamps alum Heather Anne Leavitt.
The Stamps’ philanthropy provides long term support for the Penny Stamps Speakers Series, the Work • Ann Arbor exhibition space, Roman J. Witt Visitors program and Stamps Creative Work Scholarships.”
Karen Simpson, student financial assistant, Student Financial Services, on the increase in technology in her 35 years at U-M: “When I first came here we were typing student checks on typewriters. Now, everything is very modernized, very streamlined.”
“Crazy for You,” 7:30 p.m. April 18, 8 p.m. April 19-20 and 2 p.m. April 21, Power Center for the Performing Arts.