A group exhibition opening June 16 at Parkland College’s Giertz Gallery spotlights two-dimensional art pieces from the school’s decades-long collection of purchased student works.
Parkland Art History Instructor Laura O’Donnell and Gallery Director Lisa Costello serve as curators for “Through the Decades: Selected Student Artwork from the Permanent Collection.” They chose nearly 40 works from the collection that began in 1971, when Parkland’s Fine and Applied Arts Department began acquiring a few works from its annual Art and Design Student Juried Exhibition.
“Through the Decades” runs through July 24. In conjunction with the exhibit, an opening reception honoring the collection is scheduled for Thursday, June 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. It will feature a brief talk by Costello and O’Donnell at 7 p.m. and music by Big Blue Stem. Both the exhibit and reception are free to the public.
The Parkland College Permanent Collection, which has grown and evolved over the years, provides a visual history of the breadth of FAA’s Art and Design program, according to O’Donnell. This exhibition will feature drawings in ink, pastel, charcoal, graphite and other materials; paintings in watercolor, oil and acrylic; and photographs. The selected works exemplify just a few of the many works that have been collected and only a portion of the talent housed within the Collection.
“Our goal was to select artworks representing the breadth of the program in terms of years, media, and content,” O’Donnell said. ”It has been edifying to note the influence of various instructors over the decades and to see students’ creative explorations and the beginnings of their individual artistic voices through the manner in which they have handled materials and ideas.”
“This exhibition is evidence of our students experimenting with an assignment and developing their own voice in the process,” Costello added. “In fact, there are many outstanding works in the Collection that could not be included in this show, which visitors will find in public spaces throughout the college. They are not all on display due to conservation concerns, but we have many out there for people to enjoy.”
Along with highlighting the Permanent Collection, “Through the Decades” will also offer audiences an opportunity to learn more about the practice of collecting art and the conservation process involved in caring for such a collection. An additional guest lecture in the Giertz Gallery is scheduled for Tuesday, June 24, at 1 p.m. featuring Jennifer Hain Teper, Velde Preservation Librarian and associate professor, University Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She will present a talk titled “Preservation and Conservation Approaches for Historic Paper and Photograph Collections.” Costello said the gallery is pleased to have Teper providing this lecture on conservation.
“This is an interesting subject; the practice of conservation has allowed many works of art to survive for future generations,” Costello said.
Summer hours for the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. To find the gallery, we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of the campus. Enter through any door and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area.
Programs at the gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution; for accommodation, call 217/351-2505.
For more information on the exhibit, please call the gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit www.parkland.edu/gallery.
[Image: Alicia Henry, Heavy, oil pastel, 20” x 28”, 1985]