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Georgia O'Keefe's "Purple Leaves" piece.

Studio art professor creates permanent piece for Dayton Metro Library

by Natalia Kirychuk, Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University assistant professor of studio art Annie Lee-Zimerle has been selected to create a permanent art piece for the new Southeast branch of the Dayton Metro Library in Dayton, Ohio. The new facility will open in fall 2018.

Lee-Zimerle’s commission is one of the latest in the ReImagining Works project, a collaboration between Dayton Metro Library and the Dayton Art Institute. The project asks regional artists to create new artwork based on a piece installed in the institute’s permanent collection.

After hearing about the opportunity, Lee-Zimerle submitted a proposal and was chosen as one of five artists who will create an art piece for the new Southeast branch. Less than 10 percent of those who submitted proposals were chosen.

“The Dayton Metro Library is thrilled to add an artist working in printmaking to its commissions,” said Susan Anable, project manager for ReImagining Works. “Lee-Zimerle’s work combines the strong linear detail of woodblock print and the subtlety of watercolor with a narrative supporting the love of reading.”

The piece will be a three-part project based on the work “Purple Leaves” by Georgia O’Keefe. It will be composed of three 2-by-4-foot panels picturing a large sycamore tree with two teens reading among the branches. The sycamore tree is native to Dayton, and they will surround the new library building. Lee-Zimerle plans to highlight the strength and softness of the tree as it seems to wrap around the environment, transferring nature to inside the library.

Lee-Zimerle was able to meet with the architect, go over plans for the new building and pick which room will house her artwork, ultimately choosing a quiet reading room.

“I chose a room that people need to choose to come into,” said Lee-Zimerle. “I love the intimacy of the area. In a large hall, people might take the piece for granted and see it as part of the architecture. It commands more attention in a smaller space.”

“I am honored and very excited for this opportunity,” she added. “My artwork will be on display for such a broad audience and is very accessible to the public. As a professor, I want to model the idea of serving the community beyond Cedarville with my art. It’s important to show that side of service in creating art.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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