About 3 years ago, I went to talk to Terry Hammond, ’81, Director and Curator of the Art Gallery in Hege-Cox Library, to talk about a possible work study opportunity. I remember noting at our first meeting how crammed her office was. Notebooks filled with frantic writing covered her desk, name plates were stacked one on top of the other, exhibition invitations from years passed filled the walls and a huge, over packed bookshelf covered the entire back portion of her office. I thought to myself, “Whoa, there is a lot happening here!” and I was right; there really is a lot happening at the Art Gallery here on campus. The following year I started my work study with Terry and it has since been an honor and a rewarding experience.
For those of you who don’t know, Terry is constantly on the move. She plans for a future exhibitions, installs artworks around campus, collaborates with the art department and thesis students, plans events…I mean the list goes on! There always seems to a million things to do in day at the Art Gallery. Even as a work study, Terry manages to keep me quite busy. During my time there I have given tours, explored and documented the private collection and this year my biggest accomplishment was creating the gallery guide for Adele Wayman’s retrospective. While this list is small, believe me, I had my work cut out for me.
In 1981 while completing a BFA in printmaking and painting, Terry organized a regional symposium on Business and the Arts as part of her work study. In the midst of her last semester, Terry’s work study then led her to write a proposal for a gallery space that would showcase artwork on campus. “This document, I believe, ‘planted the seed’ in the college president’s mind, and a few years later, when two families approached him about donating their art collections to the College, and the library was being renovated and expanded, ‘the seed sprouted’ and grew into the Art Gallery I direct today.”
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This year has undeniably been a big one for the Art Gallery between the APSA scare and later celebrating Adele’s legacy as this spring’s exhibition, but these events have created many possibilities for the future of art organizations on campus. Starting this year, a group of volunteers have been established to help raise money and create community support so that the Art Gallery can exist more independently. This is just one example of how the Art Gallery represents new beginnings to me. It is always in constant formation, building upon itself constantly with a can-do attitude inspired by Terry.
So when I say that there is a lot going on at the art gallery, do not underestimate me. It is a place of possibility and where new seeds are planted everyday! With graduation coming near I look forward to taking this experience with me — working with what I have and making something big of it, just like Terry has done with the Art Gallery.