Meet PDGR grant recipient Wayne Potratz

Since my retirement in 2014 from teaching sculpture, membership in the University of Minnesota Retirees Association and participation in its Professional Development Grants for Retirees Program have helped me to maintain my studio, exhibit my work, and provide opportunities for undergraduate interns to work with me.

"The Last Turtle Wain," sculpture by Wayne Potratz
"The Last Turtle Wain" by Wayne Potratz was installed at Caponi Art Park in Eagan, Minnesota, in 2021.

I was awarded a grant to attend a national and a regional conference in 2019. After the pandemic interrupted these conferences, I received permission to apply the funding—and was awarded some additional funds—to attend the 9th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in Berlin in September. I will also be attending the 7th Biennial Western Iron Art Conference at South Dakota State University in October.

The grants from UMRA have enabled me to remain active in my studio, resulting in work being placed at the Stevens Point Sculpture Park in Wisconsin and at Caponi Art Park in Eagan, Minnesota. Additionally, the grant program has provided opportunities for undergraduate interns from the Department of Art to work with me. I value this contact and dialogue with younger artists; it helps connect me to the department and current university culture.

The UMRA program has also provided me with time to write and reflect upon the work as I enter my 80th year.

—Professor Emeritus Wayne Potratz (aka IronWain)



The election of UMRA officers and new board members for 2024–25 will be conducted via an online poll from May 13 to 19, with the results to be announced at our annual meeting on May 21. Look for the ballot in your email inbox on May 13. Diane Young has been nominated to be president-elect.