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Supporting student travel


Off-campus educational experiences for West Virginia University art students are more accessible thanks to an endowed travel fund supported by Alison and Patrick Deem.

The Deems are longtime friends of the College of Creative Arts. They have contributed to the construction of the Art Museum of WVU, and sponsor the Deem Distinguished Visiting Artist Lecture and the J. Bernard Schultz Endowed Professorship.

According to Alison Deem, the decision to support a travel fund emerged from her own encounter with art while traveling.

“An art study trip to Italy during high school was a seminal experience for me and affected the course of my life,” Alison Deem said. “Artists traditionally are among the first to appreciate the arts and culture of other countries and use those influences in their art and scholarship.  Pat and I believe that travel affords the opportunity for students to not just read about but actually experience the uniqueness of other places and is an important part of education, especially in a global world.”

Alison Helm

The fund was named the Alison Helm Endowed Travel Fund in appreciation for the School of Art and Design’s director.

“We have named this fund in Alison's honor because of her dedication to the students of the School of Art and Design and her excellence as an artist,” Alison Deem said.

Helm lauded the generosity of the Deems, calling them model advocates for the arts.

“The arts are so underfunded in so many different ways, and the Deems recognize that,” Helm said.

Art students are required during their time at WVU to take one of the 15 travel courses offered by the School of Art and Design. The courses range from semester long classes that visit regional Frank Lloyd Wright works to spring break experiences studying medieval stained glass in France. The travel fund will offset some of the expenses associated with the trips.

“Art requires a visual education and there’s nothing like seeing art in its place, in context,” Helm said. “The more our students can get out in the world and explore art, the more they will learn. There’s no replacement for that.”