College of Liberal Arts
and Social Sciences

The University of Houston
402 Agnes Arnold Hall
Houston, TX 77204-3000
Phone: 713-743-4002
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News & Events

Saleri Gift Provides a Permanent Home for Blaffer Youth Program

Dr. Nansen Saleri honors his mother with $75,000 gift to Blaffer Art Museum

Dr. Nansen G. Saleri

Dr. Nansen Saleri

Blaffer Art Museum’s nationally recognized Young Artist Apprenticeship Program now has its first permanent home inside the newly renovated museum thanks to a $75,000 gift from Dr. Nansen and Marina Saleri.

The program, which develops the creative abilities of high school students, had been housed in a trailer on campus.

Despite being in a less than ideal physical setting, YAAP earned national honors in 2009 by winning a Coming Up Taller Award for excellence in afterschool and out-of-school arts and humanities programs from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Now, the students under the guidance of their artist mentors will create independent and collaborative artworks in the Kristin Saleri Studio, named for Dr. Saleri’s mother, a prolific painter and mentor to youth artists.

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Artist Mentor Liza Littlefield working with high school artists in the
Young Artists Apprenticeship Program

“We are thrilled to have the name of a forward thinking artist and educator attached to the studio,” says Blaffer’s Director and Chief Curator Claudia Schmuckli. “Mentorship is a driving philosophy behind our education programs and for students to be able to identify with an individual makes the experience more personal and adds incentive to continue with their artistic education.”

“I really responded to the idea of using the studio to sponsor youth programs and other artistic involvement with children of Houston of all ethnic and social backgrounds. That’s what my mother was all about,” said Dr. Saleri, chief executive officer and president of Quantum Reservoir Impact, a high-tech firm that helps energy companies manage oil and natural gas reservoirs.

Of Armenian descent, Kristin Saleri was born and raised in Turkey. During her lifetime (1915-2006), she produced about 3,000 pieces of art and won several international awards.

Upon her death on October 30, 2006, in Istanbul, her son made her a promise that he would keep her name alive. Toward that end, he named the art studio for her and established the “Discovering Kristin Saleri Project” to revive international interest in her art..

“Her work is an interesting mix of Eastern mysticism and Western impressionism,” Dr. Saleri said.

His plans include the Turkish and English publication this month of a book celebrating her career and featuring critiques by six scholars and a retrospective opening on Nov. 30, 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey to coincide with the book's release.

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