Peru, Nebraska – Peru State College will dedicate the Dr. Natalie Hahn African Art Collection on September 26, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. The College will also host an art sale from Hahn’s collection throughout the day. The public is invited to attend both events. 

Hahn, a Polk, Nebraska native, has donated pieces from her accumulated collection throughout her career to several schools and organizations in Nebraska. Her gift of over 200 pieces was donated through the Peru State College Foundation and will be a significant addition to the college.

“The donation from Dr. Hahn is an extensive collection,” said Dr. Michael Evans, Peru State College President. “We will display the collection on a rotating basis in all academic buildings on campus. The collection will enrich and deepen the cultural experience for students throughout the College. The collection also honors the extraordinary work Dr. Hahn did throughout her career and brings some of her experience and expertise to campus.” 

Throughout her 38-year career, Dr. Hahn has committed herself to improving the lives of people across the globe. She has worked with various United Nations programs, primarily in Africa with the Food and Agriculture Organization, serving in roles such as the Women's Economic Empowerment Advisor for the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the UNICEF representative to Malawi. Dr. Hahn has also taught at prestigious institutions such as the Harvard Institute of Public Affairs and New York University.

Dr. Hahn's contributions extend beyond Africa, as she has provided schooling, college scholarships, and business initiatives to six Malawians, all siblings, and eleven grandchildren. She launched the Malaika Foundation, which has enhanced global education initiatives in Nebraska schools and universities, providing workshops and fellowships for teachers and students to study and research on five continents. Furthermore, she has assisted the Pawnee Indian Tribe with a seed preservation project to research and plant heritage and native crops in Oklahoma and Nebraska.

The ceremony on September 26th will take place in the Performing Arts Center and include the dedication of the Hahn Art Collection, a keynote address by Dr. Henry Glassie on Nigerian artist Twins Seven-Seven—one of the prominent artists in Dr. Hahn’s collection, and a dance and drum performance by the African Culture Connection. The schedule is as follows: 

1:30 p.m. - Dedication of the Hahn Art Collection
2:00 p.m. - Keynote lecture by Dr. Henry Glassie  
3:00 p.m. – Drum and Dance Performance 

In addition, an African artisanal sale from Hahn’s collection will be hosted throughout the day in the Performing Arts Center and V.H. Jindra Fine Arts Building lobbies. All profits from the sale will benefit the Peru State College Foundation. The sales are being managed by Traton Estate Sales. 

“The upcoming art sale from the Dr. Natalie Hahn African Art Collection is not just a celebration of captivating creativity, but a testament to the rich tapestry of African culture,” said Ted Harshbarger, president of the Peru State College Foundation. “With every piece, you are not only acquiring a unique item but also contributing to a greater cause. All proceeds from the art auction will allow our foundation to continue fostering positive change where it is needed most.”

This project was supported in part by Humanities Nebraska and also Nebraska Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Nebraska and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Nestled in the hills of historic southeast Nebraska, Peru State College offers a mix of innovative online and traditional classroom undergraduate and graduate programs, including online graduate degrees. 

Established in 1867 as Nebraska’s first college, Peru State has transformed over the past century and a half into a state-of-the-art institution offering diverse, multifaceted educational programs annually to nearly 2,000 students.