UA alumna returns to receive award

Well-known artist, writer and UA alumna Ann Fessler is coming home.

Fessler, a M.F.A. graduate of the School of Art's Photography division, is the 2007 recipient of the Harold Jones Distinguished Alumni Award.

""I am very honored to receive the award,"" she said. ""It will be good to come back to Tucson.""

The photographer currently lives in Rhode Island, where she is a photography professor at the Rhode Island School of Design.

""Not only is it an honor to receive the award,"" she said. ""It is wonderful to see old friends and professors. It is like coming home.""

In honor of her award, the Photography division is hosting an event titled ""For the Record,"" for which Fessler will give a lecture pertaining to the visual work she has done over the years.

The talk will also highlight her other accomplishments, like her non-fiction book ""The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade,"" published in May 2006. A book signing precedes the lecture.

""Hidden History"" tells the stories of unwed mothers who between the years of 1945 and 1973 were sent away to homes to have their children. Ultimately, the women had to give them up for adoption.

The idea for the book began as a film and sound installation project but progressed into a book as Fessler did her research, she said.

""As I was working it became clear that a book would allow me to give the history,"" she said.

Fessler, who was adopted as a child, said she wanted to ""get stories from their point of view because it hasn't been heard.""

""I started meeting more and more of these women,"" she said. ""The public's perception of this issue was very skewed.""

The book is currently nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Fessler is now working on a documentary film based on the same subject.

The event will take place tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Center for Creative Photography, 1030 N. Olive Road. The book signing begins at 5 p.m., followed by the lecture at 6. Copies of Fessler's book can be found at the UofA Bookstore.


Share this article