Lillie M. Kleven is a 1973 graduate of Bemidji State University who traveled to Japan after World War II to work as a library consultant. During her stay, 1946-1949, she became interested in Japanese printmaking and started a collection of Japanese prints. She returned to the United States in 1950 to serve as a cultural affairs officer for the U.S. Information Agency in Washington, DC, retiring in 1972. Kleven now lives in California.
In 1979, Lillie Kleven established the “Lillie M. Kleven Graphic Arts Fund” by donating $1000.00. The interest from the fund was to be used specifically for the purchase of original prints, including some student purchase awards, to establish a departmental “teaching collection.” Each year since then Ms. Kleven has donated both additional funds and original prints to the collection.
The Kleven Collection is exhibited regularly in the Talley Gallery. Selected prints are also loaned to other public areas on campus upon request and within the limitations set by the collection curator. From time to time small touring print exhibits have been curated from the Kleven collection for exhibition at community colleges in the region.
- Steven Sundahl, Associate Professor