June 21, 2011 COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, email@example.com
Talented Artist, Printmaker Takes Over Production at WTAMU’s Vermillion
CANYON, Texas—Some major health scares prompted Michael Raburn to do some real soul searching on what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He found the answer at West Texas A&M University’s Vermillion Editions, Limited.
Raburn, a master printmaker, joined the WTAMU staff in April as Vermillion’s director of production. Vermillion is a full-scale print shop housed in an 8,000 square foot space at the Galleries at Sunset Center in Amarillo and an integral part of the WTAMU art program. Raburn’s duties there cover the full spectrum from running the presses to promotion and recruitment, and he’s excited about the possibilities.
“Over a seven-year period, I’ve had a heart attack, a stroke and cancer,” Raburn said. “It’s made me re-evaluate my life to see what I want to do for what time I have left. My wife wanted me to get back into art, and the University has given me that opportunity.”
And the University is getting a pretty good deal out of Raburn’s hiring, too. Not only is Raburn bringing his expertise as a successful artist, but he’s also sharing his years of experience in commercial printing. Plus, Cimarron Printmakers, Raburn’s printmaking facility in Mesa, Ariz., is now part of Vermillion. The merger brings Cimarron’s equipment into Vermillion’s space for even greater printing capabilities that can compete with some of the larger printing facilities in the country.
Right now Raburn is busy getting the facility up and running. He also will be traveling to promote Vermillion Editions, Limited and WTAMU’s art program. He plans to bring in visiting artists to create an inventory of prints that will help keep the presses running and as a recruitment tool for new students.
“He has a different set of interesting skills and contacts that are appealing and add diversity to the program,” Scott Frish, associate professor of art, said. “Our mission is two-fold—to be self sustaining and to create unusual and extraordinary opportunities for students—and Michael will help us do that.”
Faculty in WTAMU’s art program liked the skill set and experience Raburn offered, and Raburn found working in the academic side of the art world appealing when looking at what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
“I had another opportunity available to me, but the team work and the diversity here offered unique possibilities that enamored me,” Raburn said.
And that team work he found attractive is the integrated art faculty who work together to make the program and Vermillion a success. Raburn is working with Frish, who teaches printmaking, along with Marcus Melton, assistant professor of graphic design, and Dr. Amy Von Lintel, assistant professor of art history. The collaboration is a rich mix of key people rarely found on college campuses.
“We have a lot at stake in this because we all believe in it,” Von Lintel said.
And Raburn believes in it, too.
“One year from now, we will be the largest, most complete print facility in the country—bar none,” he said.
That’s a strong statement from a man who has managed to beat the odds the past few years, but Vermillion’s new director of production is one determined man with a zest for life and love for the arts.
“Working with Michael has been a joy,” Melton said. “His perspective on life is refreshing, and we are excited about what he brings to Vermillion.”
Vermillion Editions, Limited will celebrate its grand re-opening Sept. 2 at the Galleries at Sunset Center’s First Friday Art Walk.