M. Georgia Hegarty Dunkerley Contemporary Texas Art Series

Mar 1, 2004 | Excellence Funds & Program Support

Michele Dunkerley created the M. Georgia Hegarty Dunkerley Contemporary Texas Art Series to help the University of Texas Press produce beautiful books showcasing the work of mid-career Texas artists. This endowment honors Ms. Dunkerley’s mother, Georgia Dunkerley, paying tribute to the love both women shared for contemporary art.

Georgia Dunkerley worked as a registered nurse and physical therapist, a career she set aside to raise her daughters. She enjoyed people and was active with a variety of volunteer activities. Though raising her daughters was her greatest joy, Georgia took up painting in her late 50s after taking classes offered by a neighborhood church.

Georgia’s paintings were straightforward. Michele once mistook one for a Roman aqueduct. She was corrected by her mother; the picture actually depicted the River Walk in San Antonio. Over time, Georgia’s skills improved. She believed art should be shared, and she gave her paintings at gifts to family and friends each Christmas.

Georgia enjoyed art and shared it with her daughters. She did not want them to be intimidated by it, so she took them to many museums. She loved Laguna Gloria in Austin for its exhibits, as well as its grounds and architecture. As a result, art became accessible to Michele.

The walls of Georgia’s home filled with the art she enjoyed: her husband’s photographs, her needlepoint, friends’ paintings, and prints. Michele recalls two abstract collages that stood out to her because they were the most interesting and contemporary-looking works in the house.

Michele is a graduate of the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the School of Law. She says of the M. Georgia Hegarty Dunkerley Contemporary Texas Art Series:

“Art provokes a community, provides a shared language. The books are art themselves. They are beautiful and make the featured artists’ work more accessible to more people. Those who cannot afford a painting might afford a book; those who might not go to a museum might look at a book. I hope that the books in this series will help the artists become better known, and that their work will be seen and known.”

Michele says that her mother would have loved to have been considered an artist in her own right, and for this reason, Michele decided that 40 percent of all books in the contemporary art series must feature women.

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