Monday, October 2, 2023 Oct 2, 2023
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The New Bush Library?

A medical illustrator entered a design contest to win an iPod. He may have found a new calling.
By Kristin Hart |
library rendering courtesy of Lew Calver

Lew Calver always had strong feelings about the Bush administration. When he entered The Chronicle of Higher Education’s contest to design, on the back of an envelope, the George W. Bush Presidential Library, he found a way to speak about it openly. “They had some [entries] that were more serious and positive than mine, but for the most part, many of them took a more realistic approach to capturing the essence of his presidency,” says Calver, associate professor and chair at UT Southwestern’s biomedical communications graduate program. He took a different approach. He wanted to show the Bush presidency as a “hole” and took inspiration from the late Ann Richards and late Molly Ivins. (The library grounds are lined with shrubs, as a tribute to Ivins’ nickname for Bush.) His drawing features a massive reflecting pool behind a flimsy façade, he says, so those who voted for Bush could see their reflections and know they are partially to blame. Calver was initially hesitant about the contest, given his place of employment, but entered anyway. “So some people won’t like it, but there is a certain right that you have to freedom of expression,” he says. “I wasn’t doing it in the name of the medical school; I just happen to work here.” For the most part, Calver has received positive feedback from those around him for his design, which was selected out of more than 100 entrants. Even one of the higher-ups at the school called to congratulate Calver and tell him how insightful the design was. Mission accomplished.

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