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Art scholarships, programs included in $3 million gift from UW-La Crosse professor’s will



Many area artists now, and in the future, could receive financial support through a $3 million gift from a La Crosse man’s will.

The bequest from the estate of UW-La Crosse English professor Ron Burman is being divided up among four different groups to provide art scholarships and grants.

The gift was announced Tuesday at Gallery 1802, near the university campus. Gallery owner Mark Halter said Burman’s donation could help make the Coulee Region an artists’ colony.

Mark Halter, the owner of Gallery 1802 in La Crosse, speaks Tuesday at the announcement of the Ron Burman bequest for area artists.

“There’s probably a thousand artists in northeast Minneapolis right now,” Halter said, “but you go up to visit them, and it’s the traffic and the potholes and the congestion.”

Halter believes getting the chance at funding might attract big-city artists to the La Crosse area.

Burman’s bequest honors his late wife Valerie Burman, who was an art instructor at UW-L, Western Tech and the University of Minnesota.

The La Crosse Community Foundation announced the donation, which will help fund a new organization called the Coulee Region Alliance for the Visual Arts, supported by Burman, who was 88 when he died in January.

Foundation CEO Jamie Schloeger said one group of scholarships for high school students sets aside money for “a student pursuing a double major, who is interested in a career both in art and something more practical that’ll actually pay the bills, like education or business or engineering.”

Halter said only about two percent of artists can make a living from producing art.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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