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Renowned Artist Donates Painting to Ohio University

Renowned Artist Donates Painting to Ohio University
Betsy Ross Koller is an internationally acclaimed artist with close ties to Ohio University. She was raised in southeast Ohio and has warm childhood memories of the region. Most of her family went to Ohio University, so she never thought of studying anywhere else. She pursued studies in English and Voice, which were interrupted when she left for Europe with her husband. While abroad in Europe, they spent the majority of their twenty-eight years in Switzerland, where Betsy Ross studied Swiss naive art and began a professional painting career. Two of her more prominent Swiss patrons have been the UBS Bank and Nestle. Though many of her paintings are found in museums, businesses, galleries and private collections, she has also painted for charities, including UNICEF, and public universities.

Since Betsy Ross recalls fond memories of Appalachia, and the region is one of the main subjects of her work, it was natural for the artist to choose Ohio University as a subject. The painting, titled "Homecoming at Ohio University," depicts a homecoming parade with the marching band on College Green. Set in the heart of the campus, the image evokes the nostalgic remembrances of fun, music, and homecoming shared by many alumni. Betsy Ross hopes the painting will stir good memories and motivate alumni to reconnect with Ohio University.

Betsy Ross's donation of a work of art represents a creative approach to philanthropy. Betsy Ross donated the painting and the frame to the university, which in turn arranged for another donor to purchase the work and donate the artwork back to the university, where it will reside in the art museum. Not only will the university profit from the donation of the painting, but because it retains the rights to the image, it will also benefit from the donation of the image. Limited edition artist proofs and prints of the painting will be available for sale on the online Bobcat Store. The proceeds will help support the Appalachian Scholars Program.

The Appalachian Scholars Program is particularly close to Betsy Ross's heart. The program is a merit- and need-based scholarship program for high school graduates residing in one of the twenty-nine Appalachian counties in Ohio. The program provides scholarship support to students with excellent academic records, who have demonstrated financial need and a strong desire to succeed, and who plan to enroll on any of the six Ohio University campuses. The program benefits children from Appalachia, as Betsy Ross was herself once. And while Betsy Ross's previous philanthropy, specifically with UNICEF, benefited children around the world, she says she hopes her current work will "help young people back home." She envisions that the funds from the donated artwork will give an opportunity to the less fortunate, talented young people in Appalachian Ohio.

If you are interested in giving back to the youth of southeast Ohio through the Appalachian Scholars Program, please contact Tyrone Carr at carrt@ohio.edu or (740) 597-1900.


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