FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2/14/2017
KU Memorial Union
1301 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045
Vice Provost Neeli Bendapudi receives Champion of the Arts Award
Lawrence, Kan.— Kicking off the Kansas Union Gallery’s Spring 2017 schedule of events,
Student Union Activities Fine Arts Committee hosted its inaugural Spring Gallery Gala on
January 27. KU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi was in attendance and
received the first-ever Champion of the Arts Award. The honor was presented for her dedication
to filling the KU School of Business’ new Capitol Federal Hall with art in her past role as Dean
The Champion of the Arts Award was established to honor those in the KU community who have
used their influence and resources to elevate artists and the expression of creative thought.
Kansas Union Gallery intern Justin Kim, a junior from Derby, Kan., said, “Through her
leadership in the construction of Capitol Federal Hall, the University of Kansas not only gained a
world-class center for business, but a new cultural center overflowing with the incredible artwork
of members from our Jayhawk community.”
Bendapudi was touched by the award, explaining that it was one of the most meaningful awards
she had ever been given. During her acceptance speech, Bendapudi said she has always
encouraged her students to nurture their creativity because “creativity is what makes us
essentially human,” said Bendapudi.
The Union Ballroom twinkled with lights and was filled with music from The Real Tom Hanks
Quintet. Gala visitors mingled, enjoyed appetizers and viewed a small collection of art from the
semester’s artists before the presentation of the Champion of the Arts Award.
The gallery’s spring schedule of exhibits consists mainly of graduating senior shows. This
semester’s exhibiting artists include ONOH, Hannah Sroor, Stephanie Maximovich, Weifang
Gong, Megan Murphy, Rachel Sandle and Emily McGowan.
About the Kansas Union Gallery: The Kansas Union Gallery, housed in the Kansas Memorial
Union at the University of Kansas, showcases the artwork of established and student artists alike.
The gallery is supported and organized by Student Union Activities and curated by the Fine Arts
One special result of the 1971 remodeling of the Kansas Union was the creation of an Exhibit
Gallery. This gallery, under the direction of Student Union Activities, is intended to provide a
multi-faceted showcase for exhibits of an artistic nature which are of interest to the University
community at large. Being highly visible and accessible to large segments of the student
population, the outreach potential of this gallery is significant. By displaying artwork produced
on campus, in the community, state and region, the gallery serves to familiarize the KU student
with the creative activities of fellow students and area artists. Likewise, topical and specialinterest
shows are included to increase awareness and understanding of the characteristics of a
particular group, style, or individual. It is hoped that exposing students to a wide range of
expressive media, tastes, and perspectives will help to stimulate an appreciation for the visual
arts and promote an atmosphere in which their production is encouraged.
In addition to the main gallery on level 4 of the Kansas Union, there are also three satellite
locations: The Studio, The Underground, and the Kansas Union Marketplace.
About Student Union Activities: SUA’s mission is to seek to enrich the college experience by
providing diverse, interactive, and educational programming and leadership opportunities for the
KU community. SUA strives to uphold its mission through every event it brings to the KU
campus. The goal of the Fine Arts committee is to work on a variety of artistic events such as
hanging art shows in the Kansas Union Gallery and around the Unions, sponsoring art
competitions across mediums (i.e. fashion, media, metals, visual, etc.), and bringing guests to
speak, perform, and exhibit their work. This committee collaborates with other campus
departments and community entities for artistic-related programming.