Donated artwork creates focal point for students

Saul and Judy Eisen

UNF art students can now go beyond textbooks and online reproductions to view actual examples of various types of prints thanks to a recent donation by a Jacksonville couple. 


Dr. Saul and Judy Eisen donated 15 prints and paintings to the Department of Art & Design to be used for educational purposes. “My husband and I would hope that eventually these prints could be instructive to future students. They can see firsthand the different types of print-making techniques in use,” Judy noted. 


The Eisens have a collection of more than 100 pieces of art, mostly purchased from New York art galleries over the years. While editing their collection, some were given to their children and others were donated. Judy said some pieces were donated if they had more than one piece from the same artist. “Other pieces were collected very early in our purchasing and I had looked at them for many years, so I wanted others to enjoy them.” 


Debra Murphy, chair of the Department of Art & Design, said she is thrilled with the acquisition of such high-quality prints. “They will be used in the classroom to study techniques, composition and various styles and periods,” she explained. 


Murphy added that the prints will also be the focus of an exhibition in the UNF Gallery of Art. “Students will be charged with researching the works, curating and installing the exhibition,” she said. 


Paul Karabinis, assistant professor of Photography and Art History, explained that the prints and paintings are a significant boost to the mission of the program.  


“It is our hope that these artworks will form the core of a University collection and serve as a focal point in a new exhibition facility in the near future. The Eisens have been great supporters of our program and their generous gift will be of immediate value to art students who will use the artworks as a focal point for research and preparation of the exhibition,” he said. 


In 2003, Karabinis organized an exhibit of the Eisens’ prints at the University Gallery of Art, where more than 30 prints were displayed. 


Judy has had a long involvement with UNF. She received her master’s in Counseling Psychology from UNF in 1978 and even worked part time for the University, to help write and edit the first course catalog. 


Judy and Saul are regular auditors of UNF classes and supporters of the Department of Art & Design. Judy has also guest lectured in art classes and was recently named to the Dean’s Leadership Council for the College of Arts & Sciences. 


Neither has any formal art education or background in art. “The little bit we know we’ve learned on our own. When we travel, we always go to museums and art shows,” Judy said.  


UNF students will now benefit from those travels. “These pieces will enrich the learning experiences of our students in perpetuity while they add to the cultural vitality of our campus,” Murphy noted.