Erb Memorial Union announces call for student artists

The Erb Memorial Union and the Kan family invite University of Oregon undergraduate student artists to apply for a commissioned art placement in the EMU.

Mike Kan graduated from the UO in 1977 and was one of the founding members of the Asian and Pacific American Student Union. To honor his contributions to campus, the family is commissioning a piece of work that represents the qualities of his service to the university: diversity, leadership, and service to self and others.

In order to apply for the commission, students should submit previously completed work that demonstrates originality and skill in creating and executing two-dimensional work. The work submitted must have been completed within the past two years.

The selected artist will be announced in January 2020. The artist will work with the EMU Art Committee and the Kan Family to plan and execute the new work, including location to be on display.

Completion of the artwork is expected by mid-April 2020, with a gallery reception to follow in May.

To apply, student artists should submit an entry that contains:

  • Digital images of no more than five pieces of previously completed artwork. Images should include information about medium and size.
  • A brief individual history and artist statement — no more than two pages — that addresses how the artist’s past work aligns with the criteria of diversity, leadership, and service to self and others, and how these elements will inform a commissioned piece.
  • A letter of reference or recommendation from a faculty member or mentor who can speak to the artist’s ability to plan, execute and collaborate on a significant commissioned work.

Send completed applications with the above three requirements attached to by Dec. 2. The selection committee will evaluate applications on:

  • Quality, skill and artistic merit demonstrated in previous work.
  • Representation of the themes of diversity, leadership, and service to self and others in previous work.
  • Artist’s demonstrated capacity to work with a committee to create a commissioned work that exemplifies the themes of diversity, leadership, and service to self and others.
  • Reference from faculty and/or professional mentor.

The commissioned artist will be awarded up to $1,500 depending on merit. The award price includes money for professional framing and presentation, as the completed work must be professionally framed and ready to hang.

The work will be added to the EMU Permanent Art Collection, in addition to being highlighted at relevant special events. The award may be split between multiple deserving artists, at the discretion of the family and EMU Art Committee.

More information is available by emailing

The EMU Permanent Art Collection has been in existence since the EMU was built in 1950. The collection began with a dozen paintings and etchings by a handful of artists and now boasts more than 240 works of art.

The focus of the collection has been influenced by its relationship to the Pacific Northwest Art Annual and the large donation of Northwest art from the estate of Adell McMillan. The EMU Art Committee will consider further acquisitions based on what the piece brings to the collection and its representation of Northwest art and artists.