May 14, 1998

Contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, (615) 322-2706



Vanderbilt alum donates S.T.A.R. to Special Collections


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A major gift from a Vanderbilt alumnus will enable the Jean and Alexander Heard Library to become a national repository for rare photographs, articles and other supporting documents about American self-taught art.

Daniel Prince (BA '73) is the founder of "Self-Taught Artist Resources (S.T.A.R.)," a non-profit corporation dedicated to increasing awareness and appreciation for self-taught artists and their work. He has donated more than 40 cubic feet of photos, slides, artists' biographies and other supporting papers that document his 25 years of working with self-taught artists.

Portraits from Dan Prince's collection of self-taught art are currently on display at the University Club as the first in a series of exhibits S.T.A.R. will mount through 1999. Prince will speak at a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. May 23. The talk is free and open to the public.

"The files form an invaluable nucleus and magnet for the related papers we shall hope to acquire," according to Marice Wolfe, head of Special Collections and university archivist. "They will be of immense value to art and cultural historians, psychologists and writers with an interest in self-taught art."

Prince became deeply interested in folk and other non-traditional art while a student at Vanderbilt from 1969 to 1973. After graduation, he continued to create his own sculpture and collect self-taught art while traveling around the country as part of a visiting artist program for the National Endowment for the Arts. He sought out artists without formal training in rural schools, prisons and other places without established art programs while exhibiting his own work.

He wrote an article for the "American Art Review" called "Giants of Tennessee: The Primitive Folk Sculpture of Enoch T. Wickham," which was believed to be the first nationally published piece on folk art environment.

In another article in the "American Art Review" titled "A Good Likeness: Techniques in Self-Taught Portraiture," Prince began exploring a neuroscience aspect to the self-taught artists' work. He has drawn from American pragmatism, Gestalt psychology and more recent research on how the structure of the art relates to specific locations in the artist's mind.

Prince also wrote for "Art and Antiques" and "Americana" and published chapters in other books in this field. This culminated in his book "Passing in the Outsider Lane" (Journey Editions, 1995).

For more information on S.T.A.R., contact Prince at 783-0003.




Vanderbilt University is a private research university of approximately 5,900 undergraduates and 4,300 graduate and professional students. Founded in 1873, the University comprises 10 schools, a public policy institute, a distinguished medical center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education and human development, engineering and music, and a full range of graduate and professional degrees.

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