Lew Alquist show at ASU

Lew by tv emporium

A show of six pieces by the late sculptor Lewis Alquist will open at the Arizona State University Harry Wood Gallery on February 6, 2006. It will run for one month. Lew's widow, Jane Pleak, will attend the opening.

There is also a new scholarship in honor of Lew. The Lewis Alquist Memorial Art Scholarship is the work of the Georgia Southern University Foundations Department. This scholarship will enrich the opportunities of the sculpture students and offer a stipend for their art supplies. The fund is steadily growing and hopefully will be fully endowed in the next few years. The first of these scholarships will be offered at the opening of the new art gallery at Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art in Statesboro, Georgia. Send contributions, made payable to the Georgia Southern University Foundation, to

The Georgia Southern University Foundation
attn: Lewis Alquist Scholarship/Account 0741
P.O. Box 8053
Statesboro, GA 30460-8053

For more information about the show or the scholarship, email Jane Pleak at jpleak@georgiasouthern.edu.

Lew's work will soon be featured on the ASU art museum site under current exhibitions here.


How to post a message in honor of Lew

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Email links to Lew's widow, Jane Pleak, and to the webmaster (if you have digital photos of Lew's work to post) are to the right.


Lewis Alquist 1946-2005

Lewis (Lew) Alquist, artist and professor in the Herberger College School of Art’s sculpture department, passed away Feb. 24. He was 58. Alquist taught at ASU for 20 years and was admired by both students and peers for his intellect and humor, dedication to teaching and mentoring, and the unique conceptual artwork he created.

“Lew always said that ‘not everything is art, but everything is art supplies,’ recollects Jim White, who worked alongside Alquist in the sculpture department for 20 years. “He used everything to construct his art. Nothing was off limits.”

In addition to teaching sculpture and filmmaking, Alquist constantly created new work and public art projects. His most recent work, Road Hog Fiesta, is on exhibit in the faculty art show at the ASU Art Museum through April 30. Public artworks created by Alquist include Mesquite Branch and Whorlpath for the Mesquite Public Library in Paradise Valley, and Citizen Eyes, a large video projection on the Wells Fargo building in downtown Phoenix during last year’s Art Detour event.

“Lew was not only a terrific teacher, he was a gifted public artist who, through example, inspired a generation of students to go into the field of public art,” said ASU Public Art Director Dianne Cripe. “He will be missed.”

Alquist was born in Glen Cove, New York in 1946. He received a BFA degree in 1968 from Florida Atlantic University and an MFA in 1972 from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Before joining the ASU faculty, he taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and Edinboro State University in Western Pennsylvania.

During his 30-year career, Alquist exhibited his work nationally and was an artist-in-residence at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1986. He received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and several grants from ASU and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, among others.

Of his art, Alquist has been quoted as saying “I am interested in overlaps and parallels, coincidence and allusion, fortuitous and gratuitous juxtaposition. I create art that uses kinetic energy as a catalyzing force to make the invisible more visible.”

Most of his sculptures involved electro-mechanical movement but were not "high-tech."
Byron Lahey, a current MFA sculpture student said Alquist was an “extraordinary teacher” who “always saw the poetry in the ordinary.”

“His conceptual strengths were matched by his rich wealth of technical knowledge,” said Lahey. “He taught classes that opened up possibilities for artwork that I continue to explore.”

Shortly before he died, Alquist married Jane Pleak, an art professor in Ceramics at Georgia Southern University who set up a scholarship fund in his name at the university. Donations can be sent to the Lew Alquist Art Scholarship, c/o Georgia Southern Foundation, P.O. Box 8053, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30460. To send condolences, e-mail jpleak@georgiasouthern.edu.

This article is from the ASU newspaper. Read the article with photo on page 8 of this .pdf document here.


Lew on Lew

Born in Glen Cove, New York in 1946. Attended the Lionel Train School for Spoiled Children, Levittown, NY. from 1954 through 1957. Received a BFA in 1968 from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and a MFA in 1972 from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Before joining the School of Art faculty at Arizona State University in 1984, he taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and Edinboro State University in western Pennsylvania. He was an Artist in Residence at The Exploratorium in San Francisco in 1985-86 and received an NEA Fellowship in 1986. Alquist's work was featured in the 1987 Phoenix Biennial. He has had one person exhibitions at: Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale; Weber State University, Ogden Utah; Diverseworks, Houston; University of Texas, El Paso; Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago and Scottsdale Center for the Arts. He served on the board of the International Sculpture Center (ISC) in Washington DC. from 1992 through 1995. From 1984 to 2005 he was professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. There he taught graduate and undergraduate levels of sculpture and film animation.

Lew with students