NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - As an expansion of the exhibition "John Heliker: Drawing on the New Deal 1932-1948," the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art will host a panel discussion on the famed American artist and his work at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

The exhibition, on view in the Reavley Gallery of the Cole Art Center through Saturday, Nov. 26, features a relatively unknown body of work by Heliker (1909-2000), who achieved early fame for his expressionistic work. The majority of the works are on loan from the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation.

Panel members are Patricia Bailey, president of the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation; Dr. David A. Lewis, SFA professor of art history and curator of the exhibition; and Michael T. Ricker, independent scholar and art collector from the Dallas area. Each of the panelists will discuss a different aspect of Heliker and his work.

Bailey, who knew Heliker for many years, will speak about the work the artist created during the second half of his life. She will also offer information about the organization and function of the foundation, which operates an artists residency program at Heliker's summer home on Cranberry Island, Maine.

Lewis, who was awarded a 2009 residency, will speak about the extensive research he has completed on the artist. Lewis wrote the essay and edited the supporting materials for the 96-page, fully illustrated catalog for the exhibition recently published by the SFA University Press. Copies will be available for purchase at the panel discussion.

Ricker, who designed the catalog, has considerable expertise in the field of American drawings from the 1930s to 1940s, said Lewis. "He will offer insights into Heliker's place within the larger movements of American drawing during that period."

Panel members will allow time for audience participation. Admission is free.

The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, please call (936) 468-1131.