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Donor Stories

Valerie Burman Art Plus Scholarship Fund

December 21, 2017

By dsadmin

Throughout her life, Valerie Burman was an avid supporter of the arts. As a beloved teacher at the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Western Wisconsin Technical College, Burman made a lasting impact on her students. As a painter and print maker, Valerie Lee Wentzel-Burman exhibited in numerous cities and galleries, soaking in the culture to enhance and broaden her own work.

Through her struggle with polio, Burman became more in tune to the suffering of others, which in turn influenced her art, a depiction of the senseless violence of war among peoples and the inner wars within our hearts. Valerie wrote, “When we want to feel and possess the pain of others, then the tens of thousands of years of human suffering have culminated in knowing truth and beauty and dignity and then our humanity is fully manifest. Perhaps that is what each life is all about.”

Six years after her passing in late 2010, Valerie’s husband Ron established the Valerie Burman Art Plus Scholarship Fund in her memory, promoting the essential and inspiring nature of art in her honor. Valerie received awards to pursue a double-major in both art and education, culminating with a Masters of Fine Art, the highest degree attainable in her field.

The fund awards three annual scholarships to graduates at Logan, Central and Onalaska High School who are seeking a double-major in art in addition to a practical field, such as education, just like Valerie did.

For children, art provides a creative outlet: a place where focus is honed, confidence is built, and motor skills refined. The benefits reach far beyond the classroom, spreading ideas and hope with the stroke of a brush, the tip of the pen or the molding of clay.