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Steve Martin Visits Phoenix College in Support of Fischl Lecture Series

April 15, 2014

For the past 10 years, friends and colleagues of Eric Fischl, Phoenix College alumnus and world-renowned artist, have come to the college to share their insights on art at the Fischl Lecture Series. Marking the 10th anniversary of the event, Fischl didn’t disappoint with his selection of guest – the multitalented Steve Martin.

Steve Martin is best known for his movies such as The Jerk, Father of the Bride, and Bowfinger, but his talents also include writing, playing the banjo, and an eye for art as an avid art collector and enthusiast.  He discussed his love and appreciation for art at the Fischl Lecture Series held at Phoenix Art Museum on April 9, 2014.

Martin was joined on stage by Eric Fischl and April Gornik. Over 700 people attended the event where the three discussed selected pieces of art, some of which have a home in Martin’s private collection, including works by artists such as Edward Hopper, Lawren Harris, William Michael Harnett, David Hockney, as well as works by Fischl and Gornik. Topics of discussion between the three ranged from use of composition, symbolism, and color within the selected pieces. Those in attendance also received an extra treat when Martin picked up his banjo and played two original songs for the crowd.

Prior to the lecture, the three stopped by the Phoenix College campus to judge the annual Student Art Competition and select this year’s recipients of the Fischl Vanguard Award, an award created by Fischl to recognize emerging talent at Phoenix College. The winners of the award receive a prize of $2500 and are recognized during the lecture for their achievement. The students selected as winners for the 2014 Fischl Vanguard Award include, Meghan Canty for her photographs named “Urban Sprawl” and “Desert Night,” and a 16-member collaboration piece titled “Happy/Sad Studies” which included the works of the following students: Kasha Banko, James Pettis, Leslie Barton, Lee Brown, Natasha Dickinson, Claudia Castro, Kris Manzanares, Linda Fitsgerald, Deanna Diehl, Marco Turrubiartes, Jim Jeffries, Daniela Moneta, Jose Rodriguez, Tracy Smith, Alan Pobanz, Al Merino. Due to the size of the collaboration group, the award amount was doubled to $5000 to be split among the 16 artists.

Beyond selecting winners, Gornik and Martin also purchased two pieces of artwork from the Student Art Competition and donated the works to the Phoenix College fine arts collection.

“The Eric Fischl Lecture Series has once again provided a great opportunity for our students and the community to learn about the importance of art and provided a platform to showcase the outstanding talents of our students,” said Dr. Anna Solley, president of Phoenix College. “We are thankful for Eric’s long-term commitment to the fine arts efforts at Phoenix College. It was an honor and privilege to have him here again, and to welcome his friend Steve Martin to our campus.”

The Fischl Lecture Series, which began in 2005, has featured talented artists such as Bryan Hunt, Andres Serrano and David Salle. Professional tennis player and art collector John McEnroe has also been featured as a guest lecturer. The Series is presented in partnership with the Phoenix Art Museum’s Contemporary Forum.

By Megan Martin