Leadership gift to establish the William and Electra Stamelos Gallery in honor of distinguished artist and her husband
May 20, 2008
DEARBORN / May 20, 2008---Painter Electra Stamelos was a tremendous influence on the hundreds of students who studied with her at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. And her paintings, found in collections around the region and across the country, have affected many thousands more.
Now her influence will continue to have an impact thanks to a leadership gift by her husband, William, to establish a gallery devoted to works by Michigan artists at UM-Dearborn.
Stamelos, who died in 2007, was well-known for her watercolors, acrylics and pastels featuring natural imagery and exhibited in numerous galleries and shows. For many years, she was a lecturer in fine and applied arts at UM-Dearborn and director of art exhibitions and collections for the campus.
“I like my work to reflect or express the exuberance and challenges of life, as I feel or see them,” she wrote. “I choose the positive, hopeful and beautiful aspects. My art is a heightened absorption of formal criteria such as light, color and form--an intensification of nature and my reaction to it.”
William Stamelos has pledged $1.3 million in cash and a bequest to UM-Dearborn to create the William and Electra Stamelos Gallery on the campus. The gallery is planned as part of an art museum and performance space in the former Recreation and Organizations Center. The total renovation project estimated to cost approximately $5 million.
William Stamelos is a retired Ford Motor Co. engineer; he lives in the home the couple shared in Livonia.
“The Stamelos gift will serve as a leadership challenge to inspire other donors to support a two-year effort to raise the money necessary to initiate and complete the renovation,” according to Tom Baird, vice chancellor for institutional advancement at UM-Dearborn.
Electra Stamelos studied art at Detroit’s Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University. She also studied at Detroit’s Society of Arts and Crafts, which is now the College for Creative Studies. In addition, she received scholarships to the National Art School and the Corcoran Museum School in Washington.
Her works are included in numerous corporate and museum collections and have been published in books and art magazines. She also was active in numerous professional associations and served as president of the Watercolor USA Honor Society and the Michigan Watercolor Society.
“Electra Stamelos had a lot of ‘best friends,’” according to Joseph Marks, curator of collections and exhibitions at UM-Dearborn. Marks and Stamelos studied painting together at Wayne, and remained friends for more than 40 years, often exhibiting their works in the same shows and galleries. “She could talk on many subjects, but it always came back to art; that was her passion.”
Marks also became friends with William Stamelos. “She was very fortunate to have had such a loving and supportive spouse for over 50 years,” Marks said. “Bill helped Electra with her career as a professional artist in many ways, by photographing her work, getting her works framed, and transporting her works to and from many exhibitions. He was definitely a positive force in her life and career.”
Some of Electra Stamelos’ works are shown in her “virtual gallery” at http://electrastamelos.com/.