Graduate students in Hood College’s ceramic arts programs recently participated in a campus exhibition, “Collectors’ Voices in Ceramic Art: A Leading Edge Exhibition.” The students were enrolled in ARTS 543, History of Ceramic Arts and completed the exhibition as part of the class. Students were paired with a regional art collector to research and present on collected ceramic artwork.
Professor Joyce Michaud, Hood’s Program Director for Ceramic Arts, had this to say about the exhibition.
How did you decide to stage this exhibition?
Marc Grainer, a member of our advisory proposed the exhibition and the advisory council voted in favor of its staging. The exhibition and the accompanying lectures are a part of our yearlong colloquium and is sponsored by the Humanities Council and Ceramic Arts Program. ARTS 543 places special emphasis on broadening the knowledge and experience of students through personal involvement in researching and encountering historic work. This exhibition brought together a breadth of ceramic history, especially in the up close and personal experience provided by our collectors, who welcomed students into their homes to talk about their collections and the motivations behind their collecting. These people have knowledge and passion for ceramics, both contemporary and historic.
How did you decide on which pieces to display?
Jenna Gianni, Director of the Galleries, and I, along with members of the advisory council, visited collector’s homes. The collectors then honed in on a unique piece that they were willing to loan to Hood College for the month long exhibition.
How did the collections in this exhibition differ from the works showcased at prior exhibitions?
The value of this exhibition was extremely high. Being able to see these pieces in the beautiful Hood College Whitaker Gallery was a real treat. The intermingling of historic and contemporary work in one gallery/exhibition was a rare experience. The ages intermingling provided an eclectic conversation both human and ceramic.
What were the high points of the exhibition?
Collector and former Advisory Council member David Rehfuss wrote to a friend after attending the exhibition opening reception. “I visited the Hood College Collectors Voices in Ceramic Arts: A Leading Edge Exhibition yesterday and was impressed. The array and diversity of the 22 ceramics there made for good viewing and good conversation between the visitors”.
What were the outcomes for the students that participated in this exhibition?
The students were exposed to a wide range of historic and contemporary ceramic art to which many had not yet been exposed. Additionally, they developed personal relationships with the collectors, learning more about building and maintaining a collection, as well as the periods in the history of ceramic art with an emphasis on how ceramic arts fit into the contemporary art world.
Also, the students were brought into the real world of their own passions and career choices that may rely on the collectors to provide and support, including primary research and integrating the history of the work, the stories of the collecting, and the legacy that will last beyond the collectors themselves.
Are there plans to hold a similar exhibition soon?
The 2018-2019 gallery calendar offers great opportunities for another exciting exhibition and the conversations have already begun!