LA GRANDE - A two-part printmaking exhibition continues through Wednesday in the Nightingale Gallery at the Eastern Oregon University art department in collaboration with ArtsEast.

The Oregon Ink Spot exhibit will be in the gallery's main space and an additional exhibit of the tools, prints and plates of the late Union County artist Ben Francy will be shown in the gallery's installation space.

In only its second year, participation in the Oregon Ink Spot International Print Exchange has grown from 45 to 333 artists from all around the world. The project is the brainchild of EOU alumni Deborah Hoffnagle and Jo Topholm.

Hoffnagle, an avid printmaker, continues to develop her voice and skill as an artist. Her love for printmaking and the power of the multiple helped her realize the potential of printmaking as a conduit for outreach and community development.

Topholm, who has a master's degree of fine arts from Washington State University, is an adjunct in EOU's art department. She delivers an on-line digital design course. She's an accomplished printmaker, shows regularly and is a skilled computer technician.

Topholm's contributions have increased the international visibility and worldwide participation in Ink Spot.

In 2007 and 2008, the Ink Spot's call for participation asked artists to create a hand-pulled print representing their current work. Each artist submitted 15 identical prints and in return received a portfolio of 13 randomly selected prints from the collection of prints submitted. They were packaged and returned in a hand-made, hand- printed envelope. The number one and number two prints from every suite of 15 submitted were sorted into two full suites of the Ink Spot Exchange.

The number one portfolio will be housed within the EOU permanent collection in the Nightingale Gallery.

The second portfolios are on display and for sale in Nightingale and those still available after Dec. 10 will be housed at the ArtsEast office located at the corner of "L" Avenue and Sixth Street.

Proceeds from the sale will be managed through the EOU Foundation and will go to sustain and expand the Oregon Ink Spot project.

Nightingale Gallery's display of large-scale prints and relief woodblocks by Francy are a recent donation to the EOU Foundation by Guy and Meg Francy.

Francy, an archeologist, musician, artist and craftsman, was best known for moving, restoring and installing the functional and steam-powered Lazinka Ranch Sawmill into the High Desert Museum located south of Bend.

Just before his death, he had been approved to restore and install the Green Horn, Rabbit Mine Stamp Mill into the Oregon Trail Interpretative Center in Baker City.

"In the printmaking world it is rare to see prints along side the blocks from which they were struck, outside the studio," said Kat Galloway of Oregon Ink Spot, an associate professor of art at EOU. "It is an educational experience to see the artist's hand carving, inking and printing tools together with the blocks and prints. This is the experience offered to viewers by the Ben Francy exhibition."

In addition, there will be several paintings on display in the Loso Hall lobby that were also donated to EOU by the Francy family.

For more information or participation in the 2009 Ink Spot exchange, contact Galloway at 541-962-3467 or kat.galloway@eou.edu. To contact Topholm or Hoffnagle, e-mail inkspot@eou.edu.

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