Betty LaDuke, who taught art for more than three decades at Southern Oregon University, has been named the second recipient of the biennial Oregon Arts Medallion. She received the award from SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts at a reception earlier this month.
LaDuke has traveled and exhibited her work throughout the world, published books on her travels, painted a 100 foot high mural, featured her art at Disneyland and the United Nations, been passionately involved in social activism and community engagement, and has given generously of her time, talent and resources in support of young artists from all cultural backgrounds.
Her art can currently be seen across the SOU campus – in Hannon Library, the atrium of the Theatre/JPR Building and in Churchill Hall.
LaDuke was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1933. She attended the High School of Music and Art in New York and later received scholarships to study at Denver University, the Cleveland Institute of Art and at the prestigious Instituto Allende in San Miguel, Mexico.
She lived in Mexico with the indigenous Otomi, whose heritage influenced LaDuke’s work throughout her career.
She received her master’s degree in printmaking from California State University, Los Angeles, then moved to Ashland and was the only woman in SOU’s Art Department for 18 of her 32 years of teaching.
The Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU created the Oregon Arts Medallion in 2017 to honor long-term philanthropists who support the arts in Oregon. OCA Director David Humphrey and the SOU Foundation awarded the first medallion to Jim Collier, who annually supports over 18 organizations per year to nurture up-and-coming young artists.
Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer