Art Exhibition to Document Impact of Canyon Landscape on New WT Professor

Chip Chandler Jan 18, 2022
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Art Exhibition to Document Impact of Canyon Landscape on New WT Professor

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — Like a famous predecessor, a new West Texas A&M University art professor is finding the Canyon environment to be especially — perhaps even magically — inspirational.

Anna K. Lemnitzer, who started in fall 2021 as an assistant professor of art and design, moved to the area from the Allegheny region of Pennsylvania and previously lived in Montana, Arizona and Oregon.

Nowhere before had she ever encountered the Panhandle’s iconic wide open spaces, nor a natural landmark like Palo Duro Canyon, nor the explosion of colors that burst across the sky at sunrise and sunset.

“I feel like it’s magical, I really do, and it became a challenge when I moved here,” Lemnitzer said. “I knew I would have to become bigger than I was before—bigger in my views, my perspectives.”

The results of her first few months in the Panhandle will be seen in her first WT art exhibition, which will be on view Jan. 27 to Feb. 19 in the Dord Fitz Formal Gallery in Mary Moody Northen Hall. An opening reception is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 27.


Photo: Anna Lemnitzer's "Serenity" is among pieces to be featured in an exhibition of her work opening Jan. 27.

“When Anna first arrived, I told her that she would be surprised how living in this region would affect her art,” said Jon Revett, the Doris Alexander Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts and art program director. “I told her it will be interesting to see what her work looks like in five years, and I can see that she has already immediately responded to her new environment.”

That’s the same trajectory followed by perhaps the most famous artist ever connected to WT — Georgia O’Keeffe, who taught at WT as well as in Amarillo and Canyon early in her career.

“This is a period of radical innovation and the moment when O’Keeffe’s commitment to abstraction is firmly established. The watercolors and drawings she created during that period provide ample evidence of the significance of this moment in O’Keeffe’s artistic formation,” according to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Lemnitzer said she’s particularly drawn to the “intensity” of the natural environment.

“I have a giant window in my bedroom, so I see these beautiful colors of the sunrise,” she said “I usually am inspired by the people around me, their patterns of behavior or their personalities. It’s been a long time since I’ve been inspired to create art about a place, so this is a lot of fun for me.”


Photo: Anna Lemnitzer poses with a sculptural piece combining elements of spiderwebs and tumbleweeds.

Lemnitzer said she also was inspired by annoyances that long-time High Plains residents know well, from an infestation of brown recluse spiders to the proliferation of tumbleweeds streaking across the roads and gathering in doorways. The pair of occurrences inspired pieces that incorporate handmade netting that combine with tumbleweed in sculptural pieces, as well as in paintings and graphic pieces.

“This type of innovation and experimentation is exactly the right move for a new professor because it teaches the students how to find inspiration in their everyday lives, which proves that Anna is an excellent addition to the art program,” Revett said.

Fitz Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and by appointment Fridays and Saturdays. Email .

A commitment to the arts and humanities is a pivotal piece of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World .

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised more than $85 million.


Top photo: Anna Lemnitzer, assistant professor of art and design, makes adjustments to a sculptural piece inspired both by spiderwebs and tumbleweeds. The piece and others will be featured in an exhibition of Lemnitzer's work that will open Jan. 27 in the Dord Fitz Formal Gallery at West Texas A&M University.


About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs, 39 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.