Portrait photographer Pat Sturn—pictured here in her Ouellette Avenue studioPortrait photographer Pat Sturn—pictured here in her Ouellette Avenue studio—died in 2011, but her vision lives on through a legacy bequest to support arts programs at the University of Windsor.

Photographer’s legacy to support student creativity

Imagination is the key to art, said Windsor portrait photographer Pat Sturn, who died in March 2011 at the age of 100: “it allows you to see what others can’t.”

That vision led her to leave the bulk of her estate to support arts programs at the University of Windsor, president Alan Wildeman announced Saturday during a fundraiser for the Windsor Symphony Orchestra held in the Centre for Engineering Innovation.

The donation, totalling more than $150,000, will fund several projects, including:

  • an annual photography exhibition;
  • short-term stays for writers in residence;
  • special art exhibits and musical performances; and
  • scholarship funds to provide awards on a four-year rotation in creative writing, medical education and two in music—one open to any deserving student and one for a performance major in piano or string instruments.

Marty Gervais, the University’s resident writing professional and a photographer himself, cites Sturn as an inspiration.

“She was a gifted photographer and artist, and someone so far ahead of her time,” he says. “And even though at the end of her life, she was blind, she could still speak about images as if she could see them so clearly and so vividly.”

Saturday’s event, entitled “WSO Re-Engineered,” brought together orchestra patrons and supporters for an evening to celebrate the unique relationships between music and engineering. The first community event of its kind in the building, it presented a variety of musical performances alongside a myriad of culinary delights.

Dr. Wildeman said he was pleased to have the campus host the occasion.

“The WSO brings so much to our students, to our University and to our community,” he said, “both now and in the future as our music program heads downtown.”