For the past few years, the Penndel Resident Life staff, in partnership with the Culture and Arts Association, have hosted a student event called The Gallery which showcases student artwork for the campus. As plans began to come together for a third annual Gallery event, Evan Curry ’06, Resident Director for Penndel, realized that the event had developed to a point where broader partnerships were needed. “The essence of the event could not be contained by one group,” says Curry. “The Gallery is on a fabulous trajectory, and I determined it was best to transition the event to an organization with innate artistic aptitude.”
The elements were already in place for such a transition, with Cairn’s first art courses being offered in the 2012-2013 academic year and Andrea Fiori joining the faculty as Director of the new Arts & Culture First Year Program launching in 2013. In addition, Saritha Petthongpoon ’12, Presidential Intern, has been working to continue the development of the University Arts Initiative.
On April 25, 2013, The Gallery was hosted by the three groups together and established as an event to be held each semester that will serve the development of the arts at Cairn for years to come. For the first time this year, a piece from the exhibit was selected by the University and purchased as the first piece in the new Permanent Student Collection. In the future, at each semester’s Gallery event, the Arts Initiative will select and purchase one piece of art to add to the collection. The Spring 2013 selection was Leah Anne, an oil on canvas panel by Sarah Doorly ’17 (Elementary-Early Childhood Education and Bible). Sarah was awarded a one-year student membership to the Philadelphia Art Museum.
As Dr. Todd Williams, University President, presented Sarah with her award, he talked about the growth of the Arts Initiative at Cairn. He noted that The Gallery was an example of what really led to the birth of the Initiative – student engagement with the arts. While donors and friends of the University have been a part of the success of the Arts Initiative, it has been the grassroots movement of student interest in, embrace of, and passion for developing the presence of visual arts on campus that has been the key to the progress of the Initiative. “Our celebration of the arts at this University grows from our central commitment to Christ and His Word,” Dr. Williams said. “We are committed to the biblical truth that we are made in the image of God and our creativity flows out of that.”
Photography award winners and the Juried fine art exhibit were chosen by a jury panel of five art professionals. The Photography Award Winners are Michael Rothermel (Black & White – Woman in Conversation; Color – Successful Man), Libby Maddox (Black and White Altered – New York City Street), and Joanna Cooney (Color Altered – Tree of Light).
The University is proud to support student work and looks forward to building the Student Permanent Collection in the years to come. Student pieces from this semester’s Gallery event will be on display through May 10 in the Mason Activity Center Café.