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Hamras donate $125K of artwork

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Sam and June Hamra of Hamra Enterprises this morning announced the donation of $125,000 in artwork to several colleges, including four in Springfield.

Ten paintings were on display in the Hamra Enterprises lobby for a morning news conference. The Hamras selected Drury, Evangel and Missouri State universities, as well as Ozarks Technical Community College, in town, each to receive two paintings. Other beneficiaries of the art donation are University of Missouri, Ohio Wesleyan University and University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music.

School officials took pictures with the Hamras and talked about where their two art pieces would be displayed on campus.

“Sam and June have been generous contributors to the O’Reilly Enterprise Center and Breech School of Business, so I imagine these will hang in there,” said Drury University President Tim Cloyd.

Sam Hamra said the artwork is from the Harmon-Meek Gallery in Naples, Florida, where the Hamras have a home. Six years ago, the couple made a similar donation of art to several schools – then valued at $520,000, he said.

“Most of the paintings we have in our Naples home we have acquired from the Hartmon-Meek art gallery,” Hamra said.

The donated paintings are by San Francisco-based watercolor artist Gary Bukovnik and Miami-based Reynier Llanes, who Hamra said emigrated from Cuba 14 years ago and has built an art career as a U.S. citizen. Bukovnik’s paintings are in more than 50 public collections, according to a news release.

Hamra said he and his wife asked gallery proprietor William Meek if he’d talk to the artists and they agreed to donate the works.

Cloyd said Drury art students have studied the techniques of Llanes, particularly his use of coffee grounds to paint sepia-toned watercolors.

Evangel received one of Llanes’ coffee-medium pieces, called “Exodus.” Michael Kolstad, the school’s vice president for university advancement, said the paintings would give students the chance to study the artists.

“We will look for opportunities if the artists ever come to town, we would host them. Sam has done that in the past,” he said.

Kolstad said the two new paintings likely would be hung in Riggs Hall.

“We have a beautiful gallery in our administration building,” he said.

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