The late Alfred “Fred” Maurice was known to challenge people to move beyond their comfort zone to learn something new. His legacy continues to provide students at Western Oregon University with the opportunity to do just that.
A WOU benefactor and honorary faculty member, Maurice created the J. Dolores and Alfred P. Maurice Endowed Challenge Prize, a contest for undergraduates who complete in a year-long project in quest for a $5,000 prize. Maurice left thousands of pieces of his artwork and art collection to WOU to be sold to fund the prize in the future.
Community members can discover his artwork at WOU’s Art and Wine Walk from 2 to 7 p.m. March 11, Maurice’s birthday. Artwork of all price points will be sold. The free event features food and beverages at the Hamersly Library, Campbell Hall: Cannon Art Gallery, Java Crew, Crush Wine Bar, MaMere’s Guest House and Rice Auditorium. The wineries are Chateau Bianca Winery, Andante Vineyards, Redgate Vineyard and Winery and Emerson Vineyards. There is a free shuttle and parking.
Throughout his life as a professor, Maurice maintained a passion for the significance of art in a person’s life. “To me, art isn’t anything precious or special,” he was quoted as saying. “It’s a way of expressing oneself, on par with writing or talking.”
WOU Development Officer Sabra Jewell said the Art and Wine Walk is a community event that supports local businesses and WOU students.
“The art is so unique,” Jewell said. “Fred Maurice was not only a talented artist, but he invested in our community, our students and other artists in the area.”
MaMere’s Guest House innkeeper Emily McNulty said is excited to participate in the Art and Wine Walk to show her support of WOU.
“Not only does the event benefit the university, it is also a great way to bring people to downtown Monmouth,” McNulty said. “As a part of the Monmouth Engaged group, I am excited about the movement going on right now to connect the university and larger Monmouth community. We are all part of one community, and when one of us is thriving that helps us all succeed.”
Assistant Professor Paula Booth is the director of the Cannon Gallery of Art and oversees the exhibits in the Hamersly Library and the Werner University Center. She is organizing the sale of Maurice’s art.
“The Art and Wine Walk is a rare opportunity to see a lifetime of art making at one time and to make visual connections between one group of his artwork and another,” Booth said. “Each gallery space has work from different series and different periods of Fred’s life.”
Booth has worked with students to catalog Maurice’s collection, dividing it into his sketches, paintings and personal art collection. “Fred was a master at having a keen observation of life,” Booth said. “His sketches are playful and colorful. His paintings are more methodical landscapes.”
Every day brought new discoveries for Maurice that he noted in a photo or sketchbook. And that’s the overall beauty of his work, Booth said.
“Purchasing a piece of his artwork is helping him fund his dream to continue challenging students to make life better for others,” Booth said.
WOU Theatre Professor Kent Neely counted Maurice as a good friend who he enjoyed having riveting conversations. “Maurice was engaged in learning, and it never ebbed,” Neely said.
“Fred had the essential qualities of a great teacher. He wanted to help students succeed. I think that was at the root of why he established the challenge. He wanted to help facilitate student success,” Neely said.
Visit wou.edu/mauriceprize for information on how to sign up for a free gift at the event. Registration is appreciated but not required.