Portraits in Courage, Leadership and Achievement Featured by ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at State Fair

August 9th, 2016

AMES, Iowa — A woman who lived through the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. An esteemed state and national dairy industry leader. The writer and performer of a one-man play on George Washington Carver.

These three Iowans — Grace Obata Amemiya of Ames, Joe Lyon of Toledo and Paxton Williams of Des Moines — were selected by Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to have their portraits painted at the university exhibit during the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 11-21.

“Your Beautiful Adventure” is the theme of Iowa State’s exhibit in the Varied Industries Building, open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors will experience art in the making while Iowa artist Rose Frantzen paints portraits on site — two daily, with the exception of Aug. 17. Frantzen's work has been featured nationally, including an exhibit of her Portrait of Maquoketa project at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

“Our three portrait subjects exemplify courage, leadership, determination and achievement,” said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“Grace Amemiya and her husband, the late Min Amemiya, an Iowa State agronomy professor, extension agronomist and USDA soil scientist, had firsthand experience of the World War II internment camps,” Wintersteen said. “Grace and Min kept alive this chapter of our national history, telling their story and educating thousands.”

Joe Lyon is an alumnus of our college, an internationally recognized dairy cattle judge and the husband of the late Norma ‘Duffy’ Lyon, who was an Iowa State Fair institution, sculpting the famous butter cow for nearly 50 years.”

“And countless times, Paxton Williams has helped us share the story and legacy of Iowa State’s first African-American student and faculty member and one of the world’s great agricultural scientists, George Washington Carver,” she said.

Read full biographies of each of the three portrait subjects on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ website, at https://www.cals.iastate.edu/features/2016/cals-sponsors-portraits-iowa-....

The 20 state fair subjects, chosen by ISU’s colleges and selected units, will sit for about four hours as Frantzen paints. The schedule for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ three subjects are:

  • Grace Obata Amemiya, morning of Aug. 19
  • Joe Lyon, morning of Aug. 12
  • Paxton Williams, afternoon of Aug. 12

As the portraits are finished, they will be displayed as part of the university’s exhibit.

Two other portraits to be painted at the university exhibit have ties to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Stephanie Hansen, an associate professor of animal science and a leading cattle nutrition researcher, was selected by the ISU Office of the Vice President for Research. Hansen will sit for her portrait the afternoon of Aug. 18.

Wayne Fuller, distinguished professor emeritus of statistics and economics, an internationally recognized scholar and beloved mentor for more than 50 years, will be painted the morning of Aug. 15. Fuller also was selected by the ISU Office of the Vice President for Research. The statistics and economics departments are coadministered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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Contacts: 

Brian Meyer, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, (515) 294-0706, bmeyer@iastate.edu