Foundation Announces new Friends of Art at Highlands University

January 5, 2021

image of “Santuario” Woodblock print by Willard Clark

“Santuario” Woodblock print by Willard Clark

Las Vegas, N.M. – The New Mexico Highlands University Foundation announced a new opportunity for art lovers to contribute to the university’s unique fine art print collection.

The new Friends of Art at Highlands University entity will focus upon prints by Willard Clark, a Santa Fe, New Mexico, printmaker known for his woodcut prints that evoke the distinctive spirit of New Mexico. He died in 1992.

“Willard Clark was selected for this new collection because he is an artist who is important to New Mexico,” said Renée Buchanan, Highlands Foundation art curator and archivist. “Clark’s woodblock prints capture everyday life and scenes from 1930s New Mexico and are a valuable part of our history. As we expand the Highlands fine art print collection, we are always looking for New Mexico artists as this state has such a rich and vibrant history of art. The addition of Willard Clark prints will help us toward this goal.”

Through the generous matching gifts of two donors, Dr. George Talbot and Dr. Sheryl Talbot, Highlands University will acquire one new print from Willard Clark in its collection for every $100 raised. Different levels of giving offer different membership benefits including fine art prints, VIP tickets to Highlands events and gallery plaques.

Buchanan said the existing fine art print collection at Highlands is exceptional.

“Dr. Robert Bell, who founded the collection in 2001, truly appreciates printmaking as an art form and wanted our students, who study printmaking in the Fine Arts Department, to have an invaluable resource for studying the history and diverse artistic expression found in fine art prints. To have such a large and diverse art collection at a small university is truly an experience we offer that sets us apart,” Buchanan said.


Buchanan said the more than 2,000 works Bell and his wife, Dr. Stirling Puck, donated to the collection range from the 16th century with famous European artists such as Durer and Rembrandt to the 20th century with artists such as Miro and Picasso.


“There are also fine art prints in the collection from Mexican political artists including José Guadalupe Posada and Diego Rivera and prints by American artists who explored the southwest such as Thomas Moran and Willard Clark,” Buchanan said.


Buchanan said the fine art print collection at Highlands is a valuable asset for the university’s students and Northern New Mexico.


“To have such a vast collection available for students to view and study is truly a unique resource and one that continues to fascinate and inspire our students in their own creative work. We also host exhibitions of the work at Kennedy Gallery, in nonpandemic times, and Dr. Robert Bell gives lectures on fine art prints each semester that are free and open to the public, expanding the collection’s engagement with the local community,” Buchanan said.


To find out more about Friends of Art at Highlands University, contact the New Mexico Highlands Foundation at 505-454-3248 or